I never thought 2018 would be so full and so lovely. And now, it seems crazy to think that this business of mine is a real, living, and breathing entity and I am honored to be able to show up every day to it.
When I first started this business I was unsure of which way to truly start. I felt like I knew my endgame, but was unsure of which path to move forward with. I know there may be some of you out there thinking the same thing. Perhaps you even toyed with the idea of starting your own business as well, but just unsure of exactly how to get started. In this blog post I reflect on my first year in business and then I breakdown the path I took to that brought me where I am today. I hope this provides insight and encouragement that it is possible to start a business alongside working a full-time job.
What does starting a business take?
What would I say are some of my greatest accomplishments this year?
My very greatest accomplishment this year is that I actually did it! I am considering that, in and of itself, the success! I am so happy to say that I have made it to the end of the year with this new venture of mine. I am so happy to say that I do have clients of my own. Having thought and dreamed about owning my own business for quite some time now, and actually seeing it come to fruition means more than the world to me. The reason I know this is meaningful and true for not just me, but also many others, is because of the amount of support and encouragement you all have shown me! This was a surprise factor for me, and another great accomplishment this year. For me, to be able to see the impact my business is has on my clients, as well as the many family members and friends who are more than supportive of me, is such a great accomplishment. I hope that my reach continues to expand in 2019 so that I may continue to be a resource for those on the pursuit of their personal finances.
What are some things I have learned about myself during this process?
Working as an accountant over the past decade, I have learned a lot about working on a team, and working with managers across organizations. Meeting one-on-one with managers, I soon realized that I very much enjoyed being in the space of guiding and directing someone on how they are spending their budget and the implications it has on the longer term. When I transitioned to starting my business and working one-on-one with individuals I quickly realized how much I enjoyed being in the space of helping the individual analyze their financial state and create a meaningful budget from there. This is why I developed Know Your Budget. My hope is that it will allow me to continue to help individuals, working alongside them, to create and use a meaningful budget.
Here is the progression of my journey over the course of the year
This path and journey has led me to some very practical experiences I will be able to continue to learn and grow from, in order to better myself moving forward. Here are a few guide posts along the journey of my first year in business.
Have you ever thought there needs to be an organization out there that matches skill-based volunteers with nonprofit organizations? Well, you are in luck! Such an organization exists in the Pasadena area called Jericho Road Pasadena. They consider themselves the modern-day matchmaker, except for volunteers and nonprofit organizations. Jericho Road Pasadena’s roots run deep in the Pasadena area. Jericho Road Pasadena is very connected with local nonprofits and community organizations. They seem to have their finger on the pulse of what is needed around town. I think this is such a neat business model, and I am so happy to have found them and have the ability to volunteer my time and energy with them.
What is Jericho Road Pasadena’s Mission Statement?
In order to understand the heart of the organization, it is best to first observe their mission statement. Jericho Road Pasadena’s mission statement, listed on their website says;
Jericho Road Pasadena's mission is to bridge communities by matching the professional talents of volunteers with the needs of community-based nonprofit organizations to promote community development, strengthen social services, and enrich the lives of volunteers.
What programs does Jericho Road Pasadena offer?
Jericho Road Pasadena has a couple of different program offerings. The programs they offer are listed on their website, and below...
These programs have well-thought out processes that assist in providing insightful and meaningful work. Jericho Road Pasadena interviews the skill-based volunteer to understand their skill-level in order to pair the volunteer with the very specific needs of the local nonprofit organization requesting the service. The nonprofit would have already filled out a Project Scope of Work or a Nonprofit Request for Board Members. Once the introductions have been made, then the newly paired individuals start tackling the to-do list.
What is my involvement with Jericho Road Pasadena?
This is the exciting part of my story… I was referred to Jericho Road Pasadena earlier this year by a friend of mine who had been volunteering with them for a while. I heard really great things, researched their website and was instantly sold by their business model. The executive director, Melanie Goodyear, interviewed me earlier this year to see if she could find a match for nonprofit accounting work. During this interview she mentioned a board training program called The Leadership Connection that Jericho Road Pasadena puts together, and she wanted me to consider attending.
There were a couple of things going on here… First, we wanted to start with The Leadership Connection (TLC) right away because it was perfect timing for The Leadership Connection to begin. Then we would focus on volunteering with nonprofits after TLC. Once TLC was completed, I had the extra time available to volunteer with a nonprofit. This, my friends, is how I was introduced to Elizabeth House. Read my post about them here! What a lovely group of people to work with.
It was around this same time that Melanie wanted to connect me with a nonprofit as far as board services are concerned. To be quite frank with you, I was not actually thinking I would be on a board this year! I always had thought that it would be something that I would want to do in my future, but once I had more life experience and wisdom under my belt. As it turns out, we found a match in volunteering my time as a board member with Ten Thousand Villages in Pasadena. Read my post about them here!
What is Jericho Road’s biggest financial challenge?
When asked about their biggest financial challenge, Executive Director Melanie Goodyear said: Our biggest financial challenge is raising money for capacity-building. Capacity building is certainly part of every nonprofit organization, so I wanted to touch on what that means. Capacity building is all about building up for future endeavors. This is a key area nonprofits need to focus on at different points of growth in the lifespan of the organization. Specifically, capacity building is all about sustainability. In other words, how will nonprofits continue to survive and thrive in the next year, or two, or three? The Council of Nonprofits says it best; “Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit.”
How can you show your support to Jericho Road?
They have several ways that you can donate your year-end giving to them. Would you please thoughtfully consider donating your year-end giving to this nonprofit organization?
Melanie also suggested that CalNonprofits has a great "Unconventional Giving Guide" which may give good tips about how best to allocate end-of-year donations.” Here is an excerpt:
Written by: Taylor Coffman
Traveling on a Budget: how to do more for less!
I asked my friend Taylor, who blogs over at Tay-Coff to Adventure!, if she would write-up an article for all of us interested in traveling, but are not really sure how to do it on a budget. Just in time for holiday travels, Taylor packs this blog post full of tips and tricks from a seasoned traveler, like herself. Grab a notepad and pen, you are going to want to take notes during this post!
Some argue money is best spent on experiences rather than things. When it comes to traveling, those memories truly are priceless. I admittedly travel a lot and it can be expensive, but there are ways to stretch a dollar to help you see the world without seeing your bank balance disappear. Here are some of my favorite ways to curb expenses:
November tends to set the tone for the holiday season for me. You bet I already started watching Christmas movies! Some of my favorite Christmas movies include Elf, The Polar Express, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and any other Holiday movie available on Netflix! Enjoying a cozy night in during the Holiday season helps with budget relief too. I do not have to worry about spending money going out to the movies, or eating out, because all of that can be done in the comfort of my home. I started my holiday baking too; by finding ingredients in my cupboard, searching those ingredients into Google, and making it my own by adjusting according to what I have on-hand.
November Goal 1: Cheap and Healthy
For the most part this goal really worked for me. Throughout the month of November I felt myself become more conscious about each purchase. I made sure that if I was going to buy something, even if it was a budgeted item, that it would be the cheapest I could find it. I had to rearrange a few things that I did order to make sure it was the cheapest and healthiest. But overall, this goal came fairly easy to me.
Once you become more conscious about how and when you spend money it brings more awareness to bad spending habits. Being more aware and mindful about spending every day is truly eye-opening. I mean, there were still many days where I felt tempted to spend money outside of my budget. But, the simple fact of sticking to this goal was helpful for me in becoming more aware and conscious of my spending habits.
November Goal 3: Stick to Black Friday Budget
I did my research, planning, and price checking before I even went in to Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day. I had planned months in advance for the items that I was planning on buying. Since I had my list for what I was to buy on Amazon, all I needed to do was go into my cart and click on purchase! In fact, I had budgeted to buy a plane ticket for a trip I am taking next year. However, when I looked through my inbox at all the deals and sales the airlines were having, no matter what the deal, it still did not fit into the budget I had planned to spend. So, I decided to pass on buying the plane ticket during the Black Friday weekend and set up some Google alerts on plane tickets, so I will get notified once the price drops. This way, once I see the price fall into my budget then I will click on purchase. My trip is still a few months away, and I think I have the time and flexibility to do this.
Let me take a moment to mention how important it is to plan purchases out, especially if it is going to be a large purchase. If I was not being mindful about my specific budgeted amount for that plane ticket it is very likely I could have spent a hundred dollars more than I am actually willing to spend. Oftentimes, we have a tendency to get caught up in the busyness of the work day, and end up not being mindful about what happens once we leave work. For me, my weakness lies in thinking there is no harm in driving through Del Taco or In-N-Out for dinner after work. The thing is, each time I do that it adds more and more to my dining out budget line that was unplanned for. Which means the potential of that budget line increasing each month is high. This is why I am such an advocate of meal planning. Meal and grocery planning can save hundreds per month if you do it right!
One common thing I often overhear people talking about is when someone sees an item they would like to purchase, say In-N-Out on the way home from work, then that person tries to figure out how to fit that one item that they want into their budget. But that type of thinking is backwards. It should actually be the other way around. The budget and planning should have already been done prior to going into the store. If it is not in the budget at that moment, then perhaps it can be added to your budget later on if it is something you really want. So, the idea is that you would plan for it instead of making an impulse buy. My hope in saying this is so that we can be self aware and make conscious decisions rather than snap decisions. It honestly feels like it is a trap that we get pulled into of the need to overspend and over-indulge. May we all be a little more mindful this holiday season on purchases that we make and the food we choose to eat.
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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