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.
I have always been in love with all things art- I was obsessed with drawing and painting before I was even walking. In high school, I started a career selling art through various gallery art shows and on Etsy. I then went on to study fine arts at the University of Southern California, with an emphasis in painting, but took classes in ceramics, printmaking, cinema and architecture to get a really well-rounded education on all sorts of art.
During my senior year of college, my career path went through a huge transition; I started my own temporary tattoo brand, INKED by Dani, which is a brand of temporary tattoos based on my hand-drawn fine art designs.
The idea for the brand came one night after a themed party at college. My friends, knowing how much I loved drawing, asked me to cover them in hand-drawn doodles using eyeliner. The feedback from that night was overwhelming, everyone my friends saw that night was obsessed with the designs. In that moment, a lightbulb went off in my head... I could do some completely unique here and create chic temporary tattoos with an art-driven aesthetic, unlike anything else on the market. Other temporary tattoo brands were targeted to kids or lacked a sleek and millennial-driven look. It was a perfect pivot; I could utilize my fine arts training and tattoos as a new art medium to create a completely innovative brand.
Using the money I made from selling my artwork throughout high school and college, I funded the launch of INKED by Dani. I had always loved the look of dainty tattoos, but knew I could never commit to the real thing, and I knew my parents would kill me if I got a tattoo (I also knew that so many girls must have that same conflict). Starting INKED by Dani was a no-brainer.
I started off with a collection of about only 10 designs and sold them at sorority houses around USC. Our unique concept for on-trend and fashion-forward tattoos was spreading through word of mouth, and we quickly started growing an Instagram following. I was hustling all day from my room, cold calling retailers, sending blind samples and tons of emails, and trying to open up as many opportunities as I could.
Now, we're sold at over 10,000 retail locations (retailers include Target, Walmart, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Hot Topic), and we've transformed temporary tattoos into a whole new form of wearable art.
My 4 best tips for starting your own business are:
- Just go with your gut! You'll never know what works until you try it. Go day by day and do everything in your power to work toward your goals. Be bold, but be sure to be thoughtful in your actions.
- Research your competitors and other successful brands in your category to determine how you can make your product stand out. Figure out where there is a need or hole in the market that your new offering or approach can fill.
- Don't spread yourself too thin. Delegate where possible, and stay focused each day on doing the best and most you can. Don't get too caught up in your end goal or the big picture to a point where it overwhelms or freezes you. You're already making a bold move to start something new, so try to prioritize what's important! I started off in the beginning hand packing every single tattoo pack that we sold and shipped. If I wanted to scale to align with the level of demand we were receiving, I needed to make the pivot to mass produce and relinquish the control of doing every step myself. I am a total perfectionist, so that was definitely hard! From that point on, overseeing production has been a huge part of my daily schedule, but by doing so I've been able to free up more time to focus on design, merchandising, and sales, allowing me to really focus on growing the business.
- Prioritize great product packaging and branding. It's so important to invest time in customer experience- how customers view and interact with your product. The packaging is just as important as the actual product inside! When we were starting off, we had high demand, and I definitely jumped the gun a bit on packaging so we could deliver product to the retailers when they wanted it. Since then, we've completely revamped the packaging into something upscale and unique that reflects what the brand is all about. Our product packaging is always called out as being one of our retailers' and customers' favorite part of our product!