Feeling consumed or overwhelmed by social media? Check out these social media boundaries I've put in place to prevent social media burnout.
Real Life Connection
Nurturing an online community can often feel like an amazing thing; but don't let that replace real life connections. Face-to-Face interactions are much needed. I try to check myself often on whether or not I'm letting my social media life overtake my real life connections.
It's also a great way to unplug and step away from social media. Call a friend or go on a walk with one and just catch up. A good mix of the two will ensure a healthier you.
Treating Your Social Media Like Your Home
Take Ownership of Your Feed
Social media has definitely created an environment of comparison. If there is an account that I don't like, or doesn't serve me, I simply unfollow and keep it moving.
Back in my early days, there was this one account that I always saw; and every time it would share a win; I would compare myself and ask; Man, what am I doing wrong? Finally, I realized that it was unhealthy and decided to just unfollow. It was the best decision I made. I've had several influencers approach me about certain accounts that bother them; and I always tell them; just unfollow them. It sounds so simple, but some people have a hard time doing so.
If unfollowing seems too hard; just try muting that account for a while. I promise you it's the best medicine for a comparison mindset. For those who struggle with this, I would encourage you to utilize the three-strikes-your-out-rule; if you find your self comparing or feeling negatively about yourself because of a particular account; after recognizing that three times; just let it go.
The quality of your social media experience is directly correlated to what you allow in your space.
On that same topic, we also have to be mindful of how we ourselves communicate online. Often times our words on social media can tend to come across as blunt. Psychologically, written words always have more of an impact. So be mindful of how you're responding and try to ask yourself, "How will this come across," before posting. You don't want to be on someone else's blocked list.
Rules on Free Coaching in the DMs
Daily Engagement, Follow for Follow & other “Growth Strategies”
Give Yourself Permission to Just Unplug
Spending too much time on social media is just not healthy for your mental. If you aren't taking time to just step away from it; consider carving out some time to just step away from social media. Don't let it become an idol in your life.
As a person who relies heavily on social media to make a living, I get that it can be scary to step away sometimes; but it's needed.
Establish an appropriate amount of time that works for you. Whether that be phone-free Sundays, or only posting certain days; whatever it may be; actually write down a boundary; and stick to it! Your body will thank you for it!
Disregard The Follower Count
I always shout this to the mountaintop and this is a hill I am willing to die on! I do not focus on the follower count; and this has allowed me to stay away from unhealthy strategies that aren't always good for my health and business long term. It also has allowed me to learn how to become profitable without having a huge following.
In my Making Money Online book, I share how I was able to secure my first 5-figure brand deal as a new influencer. Number of followers doesn't always mean profitable and it isn't indicative of your value as an influencer. Don't let it hinder your mindset!
Making Money Online can be a very lucrative business; but how you manage it will make all the difference.
In the past, I've always been pretty transparent about what I make from my business in hopes that people would be motivated to start their own brands; but after going full time, I've realized that making a bunch of money just isn't enough. Whether you're making an extra $40k or $200k; how you budget and plan will be the determining factor for how your new side hustle will set you up for success.
So today, I thought I would share a full look into not just what I've made in 2023, but what I've spent. I will be sharing the budgeting and planning strategies that have helped me to be the most successful and hopefully there is something you can take away from it!
Being a business woman has definitely taught me a lot; but my growth in finances has probably been my favorite area to continue to grown in. Lets take a look at the damage for 2023!
Now looking at this chart; one might think that my 2023 didn't go so well; but I think the complete opposite; and I'm going to get into a little more detail on why I think this way!
First, I must talk about how I organize all of my accounting information and stress how important it is to keep up with all of your business expenses and income! Quickbooks Online has always been a favorite of mine. It helps me organize all of my accounting information and makes tax time A LOT easier! Whether you make a little or a lot; you want to get into the habit of organizing your finances early on. If you're interested in checking out I have a 30% off discount for new members for 6 months.
Profit First Model
I just recently adopted the profit first model for my business and It has definitely been a game changer for me. This has really helped me to organize my business income effectively. To explain it in a nutshell, there are several buckets that your business income is categorized into and based on what you make, there are guided percentages that help you determine where to put your money. This really helps me stay within my financial goals for the year.
Here is an example.
- Tithes - This category isn't in the Profit First Model but this is a decision I made personally for my business; this is a non-negotiable for me; God always gets his first
- Tax - Putting taxes aside immediately when you get paid really is a must for me. I don't even want to play with Uncle Sam's money and with the amount that Im bringing in; it would be easy to lose track and get behind if I don't set it aside right away.
- Owners Comp - This is the bucket I use to pay out my payroll and contract labor expenses. So paying myself, my assistants, etc.
- Business Profit - This category is set aside for business profit; I typically use this money for big purchases I want to invest in; but with this renovation, lately this has been used for projects!
- Operating Expenses - This is the account I use on a daily basis to pay my everyday expenses. This account gets the most traffic.
- Retirement - This isn't listed in the profit first model either, but I value putting money away for retirement; so I pay out one for my employee in a SEP IRA!
This year was a pretty good year for me considering all of the things this year brought. I was able to have the opportunity to film a TV show this year which was super fun; but this also took me away for a couple of months and then I was diagnosed later this year with Lupus and really struggled physically to do projects later in the year; so I had a HUGE decrease in income this year for those two reasons alone; but I still felt like I had an amazing year inspite of that.
Although I wasn't able to work as much; I was still able to do really well this year and I attribute that to the diversity of my income. These are all the ways I made money this year, in order from the most made
- Brand Deals
- TV Show
- Speaking Engagements
- Ad Income
- Product Sales
- Design Services
- Affiliate Income
If you'd like to have more info on how I made this income, be sure to check out my ebook "How to Make Money Online" it details all of the ways that I make a living and how to do it, and trust me ITS JUICY! I mean if I give you all this for free, imagine what I can provide in an ebook. You can check out my podcast episode on the topic to get a feel for what it entails!
Now let's get into the expenses, because a few of these need some explanations. Again, from first glance it may look like I really haven't made any money, but also remember that an investment back into your business is always a good thing!
As you can see from the table above, payroll was one of the bigger expenses on the Expenses list. Here is the good thing about this expense! Because I am classified as an S Corp; I get to hire myself as an employee and pay myself a wage. This is great news because I get to pay myself and it gets classified as a business expense; which lowers my taxable income. Being classified as an S corp also comes along with some tax benefits.
If you are making a substantial amount of money; I would consider talking to a good CPA about whether a S corp classification is a good move for you! Are there any changes that come with that? Well for me; now that I have that classification, I make a quarterly payroll tax payment and payment into social security; other than that I've had no other obligations.
Contract Labor and Supplies/Materiels
These two categories were some of my other bigger expenses, so I want to note that these numbers are very inflated because of my current project. Normally, these numbers would be a lot smaller but I have committed to investing a lot of my money to my current flip project. Let's just say getting my business building to a finished point took a lot of work and money; but it was a great investment back into my business; and now I have a dedicated space where I can do all of my business work; aside from my house.
Now I will say that I didn't always follow the percentages from my profit first model on this category and it almost got me in trouble. I definitely overspent in some areas and I learned first hand why that was a bad idea. So if you have set percentages for your business; just stick to it. It will save you a lot of headache!
This is another area that I'm sure a lot of people will argue is way too much; but again this a personal choice for me and my advice here is to do what's best for your business always. Only you know what decisions will serve you best; but I can attest that God has blessed my business tremendously because I always make a conscious decision to bless Him. God is Good!
I always just love talking about taxes (sarcasm). When I worked in corporate America, my taxes were automatically taken out. It was a huge shift to actually get all of the money in my hands and I almost feel like this is a set up for failure because you see all of this money but then a big chunk goes to the IRS. My advice here is to make sure you're smart about putting a set amount aside so you don't get behind on this.
I typically make estimated payments quarterly to the IRS and keep a separate tax account out of sight to help ensure that I don't accidentally dip into this money!
All in all; these are the lessons I've learned from 2023 that I feel like set me up for success.
- Organizing your finances will set you up for success.
- Don't spend money before you have it.
- Understanding tax benefits will help you, get a good CPA.
- It takes money to make money.
- Always invest back into your business
- Making more doesn't always equate to a better lifestyle, budgeting matters.
As always, Thanks for reading, XOXO Ashley.
Here's my expertise gained from 7 years as an influencer and content creator...a post.
Every year; I typically see people wrap up the year sharing all of the accomplishments they've made for the year. I decided to get a little real about the realities of being an influencer and wanted to share some of the things I've learned that I feel are important for any influencer to hear!
No Amount of Money will Make Your Heart Content
There’s no amount of money that will make your heart content. I’ve had months making $69k, hours making $2k; all while living through some of my darkest moments. The money alone will not satisfy you. I made $200k less than I did last year and feel more fulfilled than I have in a long time . The answer: Jesus.
Business Evolves Constantly
There are ebbs and flows to business. Not every month will be a good month. Planning ahead and knowing the season you’re in is vital. You may hear “diversify your income” a lot because it’s real. I’ve had so many changes within these 7 years with my revenue streams. One stream in year 3 brought in $6k a month and now bringing in $2k; another stream brought $30k a year now bringing $200k a year. Things WILL evolve and the social media world is finicky; be diversified!
If you'd like more information on how I make money with my online business; check out my "How to Make Money Online Ebook." I walk through all of the ways I've diversified my income.
Budgeting is a Habit; How's your habit?
Discipline in budgeting will take you a long way; especially when you start making upwards of $400k+ and a lack of discipline will bite you in the butt every time. Start creating healthy money habits early; it will benefit you in the long run.
The best and most beneficial decisions I’ve made as a business owner:
⭐️Paying Off All Personal Debt
⭐️Adopting the Profit First Model for my Business
⭐️Having a Team
⭐️Separating Personal Funds from Business
⭐️Always Maintaining a 6 Month Emergency Savings
⭐️Not Chasing Followers
You Always Come First
Prioritize yourself! The business will be there; but if you don’t have a healthy you, the business will ultimately fail. Prioritize your mental health over a social media post. If a healthy mind equates to low social media engagement; so be it. There are so many other ways to make money. Social media was designed to help you; not break you!
In 2023, I posted on Instagram (main platform) 73 times out of 365 days; still cleared $300k+. Don't let folks pressure you into the “post everyday” mentality. It is NOT sustainable and if you are sustaining it, you’re likely giving up something else that’s valuable.
Value Things You Can't See
Along the lines of money won’t bring you happiness; things won’t either. Be mindful when you make big purchases like houses and luxury cars. Sure you may be able to afford it and don’t get me wrong those things are nice. But typically those nice things take from something. Whether it’s your time; decreased budget; less spending power. Sometimes being happy with less is the right mentality; even in an abundant season.
I speak from experience. Bought a major house with all the bells and whistles; pool; land; over 6,000 square ft of space and what did I lose…time maintaining it all and money trying to upkeep; and although I can afford it; I kind of enjoyed the simpler life when I could see the money in my account vs. in pool chemicals. Not to say that these things are wrong; but I would encourage a little more thought before taking the plunge. I highly suggest waiting a little later for those things in life if you’re a single business owner.
No Debt is the Best Debt
If you can pay it off; pay it off! I hear all of this advice about using credit/investments to build wealth and that’s great if you can master it; but the best feeling will always be no debt!
Peace of mind wins for me every time.
Find Your Own Way
Other peoples path may not be yours. Find what works for you. This is a simple thing, but I think people really miss this because of the simplicity of it. Just because everyone grows one way does not guarantee you success the same way. The two things that will help you grow are consistency and grind; how you do it can look completely different than everybody else’s. Embrace the uniqueness; there are enough carbon copies out there.
Website is King
Having your own website will always be the move! You own it; you don’t own social media. When I started 7 years ago, Facebook was the "IT" social media and instagram was slowly becoming more popular; TIKTOK didn't even exist. Imagine having to build platforms from scratch on all of these social medias; no way. Instead I leveraged my social media to point to my website. I don't chase followers; so what do I chase you may ask? Direct Website Visitors!
On the graph below; Direct = Visitors who visited my website by entering my website name Handmade-Haven.com directly. Not redirection from social media. This is the number I want to grow. Followers on social media are great; but this number tells me something. If social media was to shut down; or another social media takes over; I feel at ease knowing that I have a substantial amount of people who know my site "directly". As if; this is my own little social media. Build your own folks..and then utilize social media to point people to your site. After while; they will go directly to you as a source!