Category Archives: blogging

5 Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals

5 Ways to Reach Your Financial Goals

I’ve always been a goal oriented person. Over the years, goals have changed and evolved from health to fashion to business goals. As 2017 rolled around, it came great changes. The business and blog evolved. Partnerships closed and collaborations, new clients, and opportunities opened up. As an entrepreneur, I’m incredibly aware of my ability to increase or decrease my income. I determine my income ceiling. I’m 6 months from turning 30 and can’t tell you how amazing my finances have been in my 29th year. I set a goal to increase my sales and services by $20,000 this year. (It comes out to increasing service revenue by $5,000 a quarter which has proven to be very manageable.) Yes, that’s a significant increase and it’s strategic. I have a few pending major purchases and knew I wanted to make and save some serious money this year. As I have these purchasing long-term goals in mind, it’s been easy to save. Maybe for you, you’re hoping to pay down debt, build an emergency fund, or make a major purchase.

Here are 5 tips we’ve learned along the way to help reach our financial goals.

1. Be conscientious about your spending.

When it comes to credit and debit cards, it’s easy to lose track of your balance. Not ready to ditch the perks of credit cards and shift to the cash envelope system? Keep track of your expenses through the calculator app on your phone. Get into the habit, by making sure you enter the amount into the calculator right after checkout and prior to leaving the store. It takes around 10 seconds and you’ll create a great habit.

2. Live off one paycheck a month. 

For most of us, we get paid on a bi-weekly basis. As our income grows, we often allow our expenses to increase with our income. By keeping living expenses to one paycheck a month, it allows you to save the other check. With saving half of your monthly income, you can reach financial goals quickly and get past living paycheck to paycheck.

3. Cut the excess expenses in your budget.

It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on clothing, coffees, eating out, and entertainment throughout the month. Set a budget and choose to meal prep and make your cold brew at home. (We have an awesome recipe for cold brew right here. And teach you how to buy organic for $50 a week.)

4. Pursue multiple streams of income.

As an entrepreneur or career minded person, it’s always wise to diversify finances and pursue multiple streams of income at the same time. Whether a student, working multiple side jobs, or being self-employed, figure out ways to develop passive income or increase the money coming in through additional jobs. This is a great way to increase money coming in allowing you to reach your financial goals faster. Keep a spreadsheet of your income. This will track multiple streams, allowing for estimates in income growth for each quarter, allowing for ebb and flow throughout the year, knowing where hustle and rest need to find their natural rhythm.

5. Keep your goals in front of you.

Whether it’s a major purchase, paying down debt, or filling in a paper thermometer to track your income increase, set your long-term goals in front of you. It will keep you moving forward as you visualize the best option for your finances. We keep a mood board with all things financial goals in our Evernote app. It’s on our phone all the time and great for referencing when we need additional inspiration.

Looking for more resources on finances?

We love this blog. The Financial Diet is great and our go-to resource when it comes to being a creative entrepreneur and becoming financially savvy.

Dave Ramsey is a master and with good reason. If you’re looking for an intensive and needing to pay down debt quickly, we can’t recommend him enough.

This is a blog post on our past relationship with finances and one worth rereading. Getting Real: From Broke to $10K

Interested in a fun challenge? We spent one week living off of $0. Find the full series of posts, as we completed the No Money Challenge. Intro | 2 | 3 | 4

What are your current financial goals? Any tips that have worked for you?

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.

how to create margin

How to Create Margin

“Never mistake busyness for significance.”

I heard this statement made by Bill Johnson, our senior pastor, as the final address to our graduating class. It hit me straight between the eyes. It’s easy to fill our schedules and days with things. But are the tasks that fill our days significant? If they don’t happen, who will it effect? Will it affect anyone?

Margin. Breathing room. The work-life balance. It’s something we all desperately need and strive to have. It can feel proverbial in the life of an entrepreneur. When it comes to being in business for yourself, it’s easy to fill up your days, going from one thing to the next. You have emails to answer, invoices to send, content to create, and sales to increase. You’re the only one that can increase your income ceiling so you run at full speed. Maybe you’re running after your dreams, doing the self-employment thing and are finding yourself in the same place. It’s easy to glamorize our busyness by calling it hustle. There’s some strange form of value found in the 100 hour work week, but at the end of the day we’re hyped up on caffeine, with minimal food in our stomachs, and are absolutely exhausted.

What if life could be different? What if there were ways to create margin?

How to Create Margin

1. Acknowledge you can’t do it all.

It takes wisdom to know when to delegate and hire things out. Where are the moments where your drive and creativity needs to be handed off to someone else? Maybe you need to hire a part-time project manager, assistant, or virtual assistant for various tasks. Choose to have focus and streamline what you do throughout the day.

2. Schedule time off. Don’t put anything in that slot.

It’s one thing to state you have days off, it’s another thing to fill them up. During the past school year, my days off were far from it. They included homework, groceries, blog shoots, and laundry, usually within 5 hours of time. Protect your time off and follow through on the commitment to yourself. For me this means, scheduling spontaneity, adventures, and placing it in my Google Calendar. If it’s in my Google Calendar, it will happen.

3. Put your screens away.

Our life is filled with visual clutter and noise. We go from watching TV to minutes later watching mind-numbing Instagram Stories as we get ready for bed. Rather than connecting with others we go from screen to screen throughout our day. What would it look like to place your phone on the opposite side of the room, connect with your partner, or enjoy the physical pages of a good book? Find breathing room by choosing to consume less. It will be hard at first, but worth it.

4. Value rest and peace above anything else.

There is nothing worth your peace. Absolutely nothing. If you find your mornings filled with rush or regret that you slept in for 10 minutes, let this be your wake up call. Life should never be filled with so much that your mind is reeling before your feet hit the floor. It’s time to listen to your heart, body, and needs. Whether you’re working for someone else or yourself, cultivate ways to cope and bring a breath of fresh air to your day. Whether it’s finding solace in prayer, meditation, scripture, or a walk, cultivate peace in your life. It’s an invaluable practice.

5. Prioritize.

Often time margin isn’t created due to lack of priorities. Develop clear and top priorities for your days. Statistically you won’t get more than three major tasks accomplished in a single day. Give yourself grace and tackle projects accordingly. Once you set realistic expectations, you will find margin will begin to surface. Embrace it. Take a walk, make a good meal, find connection with a friend, or go for a run.

How do you create margin?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

behind the brand

Behind the Brand: Why did I choose Glisten and Grace?

Arete. Filled with light and life. As I began a process of launching the blog and choosing a similar name for my design studio I knew a few things. I would appeal to women somewhat like myself. I was dedicated to radical intentionality, generosity, and transforming ordinary moments that fill our days into something meaningful, giving life joy and purpose. More than anything I wanted women to learn to embrace the imperfections in life. I wanted content to feel authentic and hit the note of vulnerability and truth, grit and beauty, embracing the paradox that happens when life no longer looks like a Pinterest feed.

A bit more into our naming process.

Yesterday we shared 5 steps when it comes to naming our brand. We followed our steps and knew we wanted the word grace within our name. Not only for the message given to women, but as a former pastor I wanted the ability to transfer and apply the brand in a faith sector if that transition afford itself the opportunity. By adding the word “Glisten,” we chose to add a moment of femininity and flair. With Glisten and Grace paired together, there was alliteration that rolled off the tongue and was true to our message.

Our story is simple.

Over the years I have learned that living well takes practice and loads of intentionality. In the land of Pinterest perfect images and a constant influx of a new standard of perfectionism, I thought an honest approach to life, one that can be lived beautifully and simply, is much needed. There’s something about looking at our flaws, finding beauty in the imperfections, and realizing we are all perfectly imperfect. It’s with this grace that I build and curate the life a love. There’s incredible beauty in acknowledging where we are, learning lessons, and moving forward.

So here’s to embracing our little quirks, nuances, details, and the incredibly mundane moments. And here’s to permitting ourselves the grace for improvement, dreaming dreams again, to taking little steps forward, stargazing, beautiful conversations, great cups of coffee, midnight dance parties, big bear hugs, and savoring the small, seemingly minute moments that provide purpose and meaning to our lives.

Are you a business owner that needs coaching, systems, graphic design, or social media management? We currently have openings for the summer months and would love to work with you. Contact us and let’s get to work!

 

branding basics how do I name my business

Branding Basics: How do I name my business?

When it comes to branding, there are many components. Above all else, names, logos, and typography are the containers for your message and your story.  As you start a business, there are many components and questions to navigate. Today we decided to share a bit of the process of naming and developing brands prompted by a dialogue from our workshop last week. If you’ve wondered how to get started and find yourself stuck, these are some great questions that will jumpstart your creativity as you name your business.

Keep reading for our five tips after the jump!

1. What are you trying to communicate? A name is more than a name. As a company it should link to your core values, mission, and vision. If you’re going to use your first and last name as a business owner, have a good reason why.

Ask yourself:

-What are my core values?
– What are the non-negotiables for the way I do business?
– How are/will these currently expressed in our daily operations?

2. Make a list. Once you know where you’re headed, begin by listing and brainstorming 50 names for your business. It helps me to set a timer for 30 minutes to keep things moving and not overthink anything too much. Once your list is complete it’s time to narrow down your list. Pick your top five choices.

Ask yourself:

-Does this name embody the customer experience and message of my business?
-Could I explain the why behind this name in 30 seconds or less? (your elevator pitch)
– How does this name tell my brand story?

3. Look at the sources. Is this name available as a Instagram username? Is the domain name available? How will this name work on social media platforms and in a variety of applications? Is it easy to say or understand? Put your five options through this process and narrow down your choices.

Ask yourself:

– Do have any direct competition with similar names?
– Is this domain name available?
– Is the handle available on social media platforms?

4. Time to make it official. 

When it comes to naming a business, most companies will require that you file a fictitious name statement with the county that you are operating business in. (These policies vary state to state with legislation.) Make sure to file this prior to opening a business and secure your business licence in the county. (This is a required step if you are working with tangible product, goods, or a physical location.)

5. Secure it online.

Once you’ve made your name legal, go ahead and secure your name on social media profiles. I recommend securing your handle on all social media platforms, even if you won’t be using them often. This way you have them and no one else can use them. Purchase your domain and get to work building your accounts!

Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue this column explaining how we chose “Glisten & Grace” as the name for our blog and business. See you then!

 

paula scher quote

Monday Words: Getting Better with Everyday

There’s something about hindsight, isn’t there? The other day I found myself reviewing the first post on the blog. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in the past two years. Lately I’ve been thinking about this space and the creative force behind it. I’m always searching for inspiration, whether in music, film, art, story, or makers. I often complete edits late at night on the couch and find myself watching Netflix. Recently I stumbled upon the documentary series called Abstract. I was watching the episode on graphic designer Paula Scher. (This series is similar to Chef’s Table but for spheres within the art industry. I couldn’t recommend it enough.)

There was one line from this episode that stuck with me. She states, “I’m driven by the hope that I haven’t made my best stuff yet.” As a creative this has resonated deeply within. It has been easy in the past few months to feel overwhelmed and playing the constant game of getting caught up. As the business has grown, certain things have had to adjust including this space. It has lead to a production of content that can feel less than showing up with the best.

Upon watching this documentary, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Looking at capital campaigns and stunning designs Paula and her firm have created. The ways she has played, pushing typography to it’s limits and letting words say and mean something intrinsic, something beautiful. It awoke within me why I love design in the first place. Paula’s work for the New York arts, from The Public to handpainted maps, and Citibank logos, she has pushed the boundaries of what it looks like to merge design and the nonprofit world. This week we’re processing through moving forward as creatives. What does it look like to have a cohesive brand, but to see it evolve, grow, having ebb and flow over time? How do you dare, show invention, and push the envelope? What does it look like to back away from the endless streams of content, our screens, and creating through the sketchbooks and color swatches we once loved. We’re looking to different sources of inspiration and making plans to improve this space like never before.

More than anything, we’re focusing on making tomorrow better than today. We aren’t out to top ourselves and making something better than before. Rather we’re embracing the freedom that comes with creativity. The feelings and rush of delight that came with splashing paint on a canvas for the first time. It was wild, beautiful, and unconstrained. We find hope because we know we haven’t made our best stuff yet.