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Dave Ramsey once said, “If you won the lottery and the first thing you would do is quit your job, then you need to quit your job.” This is something I truly believe because life is too short to waste your time on something you don’t love or are not passionate about.

With that said, it is also important to make sure you are fulfilling what your heart truly desires. We all have talents and skills that would make a good business, and with an unpredictable job market it is important to have multiple streams of income.

Whether this is your aim or your desire is to become your own boss, the following five steps will help you with the process of starting a business while working full-time.

Step 1: Lower your cost of living.

One of the main reasons businesses fail is because they don’t have the capital needed to push the business forward. Because it is tough to get a business loan at the early stages of a venture, many people have to rely on personal finances, friends, and family. Lowering your cost of living will give you a well-needed cushion to infuse into the business, if needed. This means that you should focus on the things that you need rather than spending so much on your wants.

It is also wise to keep your money in a completely fee-free bank account, so when monetary highs and lows occur during the process of starting your own business (and trust me, they will occur), it doesn’t result in being charged bank fees while you’re trying to be smart with your money.

Step 2: Use your time wisely.

It is an absolute fact that you have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah, and Lady Gaga. It is how you use those 24 hours that will determine if you are successful in your venture or not. Before you launch your business, make sure that that you put aside at least two to three hours a day to focus on your business. I know we all have busy lives but no matter how crazy you may think your life is, with proper time management you can find a few hours to contribute towards your goal.

Step 3: Set goals.

Speaking of goals, once you’ve flushed out your ideas and have come up with a strategy to execute them, make sure you set goals for yourself and your business so you’re held accountable. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. They should also be broken up into short- and long-term.

Step 4: Learn more about your business.

Having too much knowledge is not possible, especially as you launch your new venture. Make sure you are not wasting time and money by thinking you know it all. You must learn as much about your business as possible. Have you heard of a SWOT analysis? Any new business needs one. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Knowing each component about your own business will give you the information needed to decide whether your business is a viable option.

Step 5: Launch and spread the word.

Once you determine you have a great business idea, it’s time to launch and start spreading the word. When launching your business, it’s imperative you tell your friends, family, co-workers, church congregation, classmates, strangers and anyone else you run into!

Now that you’re officially a business owner, remember one thing: Not all days are going to be the same. Some days, business is going to be great and others not so much. The important thing is to work your plan and stay committed to your goals. The great thing about launching your business while working full-time is that it removes the financial stress of relying solely on your business revenue to survive.

And, congratulations! You have now taken an important step toward financial freedom!

What are some other steps that you can take? Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts.

5 Steps to Starting a Business While Working Full-Time was originally published on TheEverygirl.com.

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Dropping Digm (How-to)

Email Etiquette

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When you’re entering the workforce, you’ll need to project a professional tone in all your communications. With more teams being distributed, email has become a ubiquitous way to communicate, but many young professionals don’t get any training in school on best practices with writing emails, so we wanted to share some tips from our own culture book on proper email etiquette so you can keep that money rolling into your  checking account.

1. Don’t Argue via Email

Email shouldn’t be used if you are having a difference of opinion with someone – business or personal. Pick up the phone or schedule a meeting with the person to discuss the issue. You may want to wait 24 hours before sending an email if you are angry to allow yourself to cool down. When in doubt, don’t send it out.

2. OMG – Y U No Use proper grammar?!

Email and texting may feel like a quick way to communicate. Before pressing send, take a second look to review. Be sure you are using correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  Make spell check your friend.

3. DON’T YELL

ALL CAPITALS IN AN EMAIL INDICATE THAT YOU’RE SHOUTING AT THE PERSON. When in doubt, refer to tip #1.

4. Be Bold When it Makes Sense

Bold formatting should only be used to emphasize important words. If everything’s important, than in essence, nothing is important. Choose what words you want to stand out to a busy executive by bolding them so they can skim the entire email quickly and get the point.

5. Beware of BCC

Don’t use blind copy “BCC” so others won’t see who you copied.  It might come back to haunt you. If you aren’t familiar with bcc, it refers to blind carbon copy, and those you put on that line will receive your email without the others on the chain knowing. This is a sneaky move, and shouldn’t be used. If you need your boss to see something, do the right thing and pick up the phone, or let them know a different way.

6. Don’t CC the World

Have you ever heard of too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the broth? Think about that saying when you decide who you want to cc on your email. Many workers today are inundated with emails on a daily basis. Use courtesy copy or “CC” sparingly.  Think, does this person really need to see this email? Also, if you are cc’d on an email, you are not obligated to respond.

7. Tone Matters

I’m sure you’ve read a text from your mom or friend that you thought was slightly rude, but then when you spoke to them, you found out they meant well. It’s harder to pick up on tone in an email or text message as you can when you speak to someone over the phone or face to face. Be careful of the tone of your email. Readers don’t always pick up on humor and may take it the wrong way.

8. Keep it Simple

Put yourself into a busy executive’s shoes. They are dealing with a million things at the same time, spending a ton of time in meetings during the day, are receiving not only emails, but phone calls as well. When you craft your email, make sure to keep it simple and to the point. Many people get overwhelmed seeing a huge email to read, and may even skip it, which is not your goal.

9. Replying to All

When you respond to an email, don’t click the “reply to all” button unless the sender specifically requests that you do so.  Otherwise, just reply to the sender. There may be some situations that require you to reply all, so use your best judgement.

10. Write Your Subject Line Like a Headline

I heard at a recent conference that many people only read a subject line, and that you get only eight seconds to capture their attention. Now granted, that was with email marketing, but in digital age, there are so many sources competing for our attention. A subject line should read like a headline, and tell people what the email is about. Make sure it indicates the content and purpose of the email and isn’t too vague. Writing a good subject line also helps when you need to search for past email conversations. If you had a vague subject line, you may not be able to find that email thread as easily.

  • Bad subject line: Tuesday
  • Good subject line: Project Due by Tuesday

11. Email Signatures & Formatting

Be sure your email signature includes your pertinent contact information like your telephone number, including a direct dial and internal extension, your website, and if needed, a fax number or mailing address. This way if someone needs to get in touch with you, and searches for your email, all the important information will be included. We also recommend not using a patterned background when sending emails at work. Your message is much harder to read, and looks unprofessional.

12. Pay it Forward

If you forward an email, let the recipient know why you think this information will interest them.  Highlight the important sections so they don’t have to pour through a lot of data. You also don’t want to ever forward spam chain emails. Also make sure to scan the entire thread of your email before forwarding to new recipients.

13. Boy Who Cried Wolf

Make sure that you only mark emails “high importance” when they are truly important. You don’t want to get a bad reputation that you are the boy who cried wolf, because when the time comes that something is truly important, people may ignore that red exclamation point.

14. Delivery Receipts

Delivery receipts are great for knowing that you received a package in the mail, but aren’t such a good look for internal email communication. A best practice is not to use the delivery or read receipt option because it may irritate the recipient. If people aren’t reading or responding to your emails, you may need to adjust your approach.

 

Email is a great way to communicate to your coworkers quickly, but should be handled with care. Remember that whatever you put in writing stays in writing. Let us know any other tips you’ve found helpful in the comments below.

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Personal Finance Tips for the Entrepreneur

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According to Merriam-Webster, an entrepreneur is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. And while nowadays that term is extremely sexy, anyone who takes on the role of entrepreneur knows the truth behind the hype. Entrepreneurship is very rewarding; some would even call it a gift. Along the journey of an enterprise is the need to be financially astute. Yes, many entrepreneurs start out with a dollar and a dream, but they also understand some basic financial principles that transform that dollar into billions.

Cut Costs, Not Corners. Spending wisely on overhead is key in terms of building a business. Inevitably, the time comes when you must invest in your business financially. What you invest in depends on the need and the industry. While getting as many discounts as possible remember never to cut corners. Always provide quality at the very best price.

Regular Savings. Save. Save. Save. Look to the squirrel who collects and stores nuts for the winter. When we are rolling the dough also known as making money on a regular basis, we don’t see the importance of saving until a downshift in our finances occurs. And even if income remains steady, saving offers the opportunity to experience financial freedom. Remember to save a portion of your income on a regular basis. Wealth grows little by little.

Monitor Credit. Become more informed about your credit report and FICO score. A credit report is a picture of your credit history prepared by a credit bureau. The three national bureaus in the United States are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your FICO score is calculated with software from Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Credit scores effect interest rates, obtaining loans, getting an apartment, and sometimes employment opportunities.

Get affordable healthcare. Healthcare is the largest bill is one of the largest expenses we have to cover. Regular checkups and emergency room visits can take up a chunk of income. This area is often overlooked. Be sure to invest in your health and find affordable healthcare. A sick entrepreneur is a broke one.

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9 Important Money Tips for Traveling Abroad

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Traveling abroad can be an exciting adventure, but it does require a lot more preparation than your typical U.S. vacation. If you’re planning on traveling overseas, you’ll want to know about the culture, weather, and currency before you reach the airport.

Not to mention, you’ll want to prepare from a financial perspective in more ways than one. To help you have a stress-free trip when it comes to your money matters, we have a financial checklist with nine money tips for traveling abroad for your viewing right here.

Financial Checklist for Traveling Overseas

1. Find out how much it costs to travel to that country via online research

Solotravel.org has a series of calculators to help you approximate what it will cost to sleep, eat, drink and travel to a different country.

2. Know the best date to fly to save money

Before you book your flight, here is a helpful tip – consider flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday to save money on your flight. Another money saving travel tip is to change the time of your flight to a red eye or early morning flight.

3. Ask your doctor about any vaccinations you may need

These can sometimes be in the thousand-dollar range, so make sure to account for this within your travel budget.

4. Stay in the know by going paperless

To stay updated on your bills and bank account, set up paperless billing before you travel. If you use a mobile banking app, you can view your accounts, transfer money, pay bills, and receive alerts right from your mobile device. For the rest of your mail – ask a buddy or family member to bring it in for you so your house doesn’t look abandoned. If you have any pets, see if they could double as a pet sitter, or you may need to pay extra to bring your dog or cat to a pet hotel.

5. Contact your bank

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar bank or branchless bank, call your bank before you travel. Let them know where you are going and when you will be there so your account doesn’t get shut down due to an identity theft scare. Most banks would shut off your card if they see abnormal activity, leaving you without any way to pay – unless you have backup (which we highly recommend just in case). You also will need to know if your cards will work overseas. Many European banks have converted to chip-and-PIN technology so your magnetic strip card may not work.

6. Know your fees

While you’re on the phone with your bank, find out if they charge any conversion rates or extra ATM fees overseas. At BankMobile, we don’t convert or collect an exchange rate on any overseas transaction. The bank abroad will convert your cash and determine the conversion rate. The ATM owner may charge a fee, but we don’t.

7. Know the conversion rateKnow the conversion rate before traveling overseas

You’ll also want to know what the currency conversion rate is prior to your travel dates. For example, by doing a search via oanda.com you’ll learn that 1 US Dollar is equivalent to 117.095 Jamaican Dollars, 0.64894 British Pounds, and 8.28223 Swedish Krona. Typically you can save money on conversion fees if you visit the country’s ATM or bank instead of using the conversion centers in and around the airport. You’ll want to have some local cash on hand for those places that don’t accept cards.

8. Know your deadlines and get your paperwork in order

September is National Passport Awareness Month, and our government wants us to keep in mind that it takes time to get a passport. If you plan ahead, you can save $60 per application by opting for their routine service, which takes 4-6 weeks to process. You also may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you plan on driving abroad, as many countries don’t recognize a U.S. driver’s license. To find out, check with the embassy of the country you are visiting. You can get an IDP from AAA (American Automobile Association) or National Auto Club. You may also need auto insurance too – so make sure to take all of these expenses into account before you go.

9. Know your voltage and bring adapters

Other countries have different plug sizes than the U.S., so bring a charger or two, and grab an adapter before you leave so you can use your electronics and keep tabs on your bank account.

Before you board your flight abroad, make sure to prepare yourself with all the proper paperwork, vaccinations, and information. This will help reduce your stress and give you peace of mind so you can rest assured that you’re in for an amazing trip. Bon voyage!

Do you have another financial tip for traveling overseas? Feel free to share it in the comments below!

 

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