Have you ever made 2-minute noodles? You know, the noodles that come in a pack that you add to boiling water with a packet of spices, and viola! In two minutes, dinner is served. Well, when I was in college, I ate a lot of 2-minute noodles. They were cheap. Rather than feeling sorry for myself because 2-minute noodles were on the menu yet again, I got creative. It became a challenge. How many new recipes involving these boring noodles could I come up with? How creative could I be? What would make this fun?
Years later, when I found myself $187,000 in debt, I used the same approach to my finances as I did with those noodles. Rather than seeing my situation as a problem, rather than focusing on debt, I started looking at it from the question of, “What else is possible here?” And, “How can I change this?”
Today, you can often hear me say, “No one should have a money problem – especially not you,” and “if you would like to turn your money situation around, know that it is possible.”
The following tools can be used to help transition your financial situation from tumultuous to a sigh of relief.
Ask Questions Continuously
People make statements about money continuously, but very few ask questions. If you desire something greater with your finances, ask questions continuously. Many of us were told not to talk about money when we were growing up. Many of us were told we asked too many questions and urged to stop. Questions are actually the beginning of change. They open the door to new possibilities.
Start to ask questions like, “What else is possible here?” Or, “How many revenue streams could I create?” And, “If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I choose?”
Consider sending out exciting mail to clients or prospects to grab their attention. Take a cue from fashion houses who often send elaborate invites to their guests. The idea here is to stand out and build anticipation for a great show. Often guests have so many shows to attend that they must choose some and forsake others. In order to pack the house, elaborate invites makes them stand out. Louis Vuitton is known for sending beautiful clutches with the invitation enclosed.
Ask Money to Show Up
What if you could ask for money, just because you know life might be more fun with it than without it? What if the purpose of your life is to have fun?
Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Ask and you shall receive.” Most people don’t ask for money because they have so many beliefs about what it takes to have it, how hard you have to work for it, where it can and cannot come from, and more. These beliefs keep people from simply asking for money to show up.
Get clear on how much money it would take to live the way you want to every month and then ask, “What’s it going to take for this to show up?”
Are you waiting for others to acknowledge you so that you finally know what you have to offer is valuable? What if you were the one who recognizes you are valuable, no matter what anyone else thinks?
If you are going to change your money situation, you have to be willing to acknowledge you. When you do not acknowledge you, you diminish you. When you diminish you, you limit your creative abilities. A much easier way to go forward in life is to acknowledge what you have accomplished, to open your eyes to your greatness and not dismiss the things that you have created and changed.
There are three ways you can begin acknowledging you more effectively:
Acknowledge the value of you
Acknowledge what is easy for you to do
Acknowledge what you create
It might be difficult for you to see your value at first. Commit that you will do it anyway; no matter what. Get a notebook and write down what you are grateful for about you - add at least three different things every day.
The best way to change your financial reality is to simply start. Wherever you are. Whatever your current situation, just start. Ask questions. Acknowledge you and all that you have already accomplished. Never stop.
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.