Well hello there, friends!
It's been about 6 months since I last wrote something about my personal life. A lot has changed since then, so I figured I'd write a little blog post to update you all on what I've been up to, what I've achieved and what I've learned! 🙂
Below is a summary of what's in this blog post. If you'd like to jump straight to a specific topic, click any link below:
- I completed the rebrand of Whipped Dream
- I paid off 40k in credit card debt
- I moved in with my boyfriend and started renting out a spare room through AirBnB
- I went on an all-expenses paid vacation through Herbalife
- I injured my back and had to take a long break from squats and deadlifts
- I went from blonde to brunette
Let's begin by rewinding back to the crossroads I found myself at in April
For a good six months or so, prior to the month of April, 2017, I had been creating a few featured posts on this blog, on a regular basis:
- A "Weekly Struggles, Goals and Achievements" post where I talked about my current struggles that week, announced my goals publicly to keep myself accountable, and crossed off my achievements from the previous week.
- Monthly passive income reports, to teach myself how to earn passive income through blogging and to share what I've learned with others to help them learn as well.
In addition to these, I was also working hard at making some personal fitness gains in the gym.
From the end of February to the end of March, I created a 5-week-long blog post series documenting a personal nutrition + fitness challenge I was doing for myself, in an effort to trim some body fat, get my nutrition back on track and to get stronger through powerlifting.
To top all of that off, I was also in the middle of trying to rebrand my design business, Whipped Dream, to be more aligned with my target audience (ambitious women who are looking to create and grow their own dream business or blog,) and had a lot of work ahead of me.
I was doing a lot of different things (as usual), and had so many ideas and things I wanted to create but I just couldn't seem to find the time to do them all. Plus, I was starting to feel that sense of burn-out creeping up on me.
As I've learned in my entrepreneurial journey, I knew what I had to do next to help me feel less stressed, avoid burnout and still achieve my most essential goals:
I had to SIMPLIFY my life, by FOCUSING on one thing at a time, and I had to start with the most important thing.
The most important thing to me was to continue the rebrand of Whipped Dream.
I just needed to give myself permission to let go of some things so that I could create more time freedom for myself. I would then use that time freedom to put more energy and focus into creating and growing the brand-new Whipped Dream.
So I decided to take a look at my schedule, find things I was doing that didn't align with my most essential goals and started cutting those things out. After all, if you want to be successful you need to be a quitter. 🙂 #noshame
Fast forward to today, six months later, I'll now share with you what I've achieved since then, along with some other updates.
Here's what I've been up to the past 6 months
This really took a lot of thought, time and energy to create... I would actually say it's taken about a year in total to complete, as I started thinking about rebranding my business last September.
Nonetheless, I feel like I've finally figured out how I want my branding to look and feel, who my target audience is and I've got everything set up and running in the direction I want it to go in! And I no longer have #websiteshame (which is ironic, coming from a website designer, wouldn't you say?!)
The entire website, as well as all of my social media accounts, have been completely rebranded to target ambitious women who looking to create and elevate their dream business.
When I first started the rebranding process, I thought I wanted my business to be more passive income-based, and imagined myself creating webinars, video tutorials and how-to blog posts, because that's what I kept hearing was the "up and coming thing." If you wanted to make more money, you had to get into videos and webinars.
Once I started trying to do all of that, I realized I was going to have to go through a bunch of new learning curves on how to create videos, how to use video software, how to market myself for webinars, etc. and I just felt like it was not the direction I truly wanted to go in.
Furthermore, I found myself avoiding it at all costs (which is probably part of the reason my re-branding took a year to complete... because I spent the first 6 months avoiding the work!)
Video stuff has never really been my thing. It's never come naturally to me and I've never been truly interested in learning more about it.
When you're truly passionate about something, you will naturally be eager to learn more about it and would probably be willing to do it for free (even though you shouldn't work for cheap or free, but that's another topic for another time...)
All that being said, I clearly was not passionate about video stuff.
While I was in the middle of all that I've mentioned above, I had a past client come to me, looking to work together on a new project. She wanted to start her own blog but needed help with the branding and website design.
I already knew I enjoyed working with her (she had worked with me on 2 other branding and website projects before) plus I already knew how to do branding and website design, so without much further thought, I said yes to the project.
Through our design process, I re-discovered how much I enjoyed it, as well as how much I enjoyed working with her. She was ambitious, creative, full of life and easy to work with... how could I not enjoy working with someone like that?!
That's when it hit me.
Why should I do what everyone else is telling me to do? I always do better when I listen to my heart and do more of what comes natural to me.
I don't want to do things I don't like to do, things I'm not interested in or things I'm not naturally good at, even if they will supposedly bring me more money.
The whole point of having my own business is to do more of what I want to do, what I love to do and what I feel passionate about.
Money is an important part of the equation, but not my #1 goal. I believe the more you do what you're naturally good at and passionate about, the more "luck" you'll create for yourself.
This is when I realized that my true passions are branding, website design, blogging, online marketing and helping other ambitious women create their own version of success, and in their own unique way.
So I decided to move forward and started creating my branding, as well as the the services I offered, around those things.
While I was creating my services, I realized I was going to need to improve my design process, so I decided to invest in my business by taking this online course called Organize & Automate.
This course taught me how to streamline my design process with clients, so that I could work faster and more efficiently, while still providing a great service.
The course ended up being awesome and was totally worth every penny! I learned how to set up my design process using a free project management tool called Asana, create scripts for my emails, streamline my workflow in Photoshop and Illustrator, create design homework for my clients, create an on-boarding and off-boarding process, and so much more!
If you're a fellow designer like me, I highly recommend taking this course!
In addition, I've also created my own Facebook community, which is something I've also wanted to do for a year now, but had major anxiety issues on because I didn't know how I'd be able to maintain it.
Well, that fear has become obsolete over the past 6 months, as I've realized it's not as hard to maintain as I originally thought. Actually, it's pretty freakin' easy and it has really helped me and my fellow "ambitious unicorns" connect better!
And finally, I've written a bunch of new blog posts on Whipped Dream over the past few months:
In summary, it feels really f*cking good to have finally made some time for myself and to put some major effort into MY business for once (I was always "too busy" helping others create their business' visions that I could never find the time to create the thing that I wanted.)
After 5 years, I've finally been able to create MY vision for MY dream clientele... and the best part is, it's working! I've totally been attracting the types of clients I've always dreamt about working with!
Through this whole experience, I've learned that investing in your business (whether that's time or money) is the absolute best thing you can do if you want to attract your dream clients, love what you do and be truly happy in both life and business.
You can't attract your dream clients if you don't know who they are, or if your brand doesn't truly reflect you, your personality, your passions or your vision as a whole.
You also can't produce your best work if you are pouring from an empty cup! You gotta take care of YOU and help yourself FIRST before helping others! Don't be afraid to be a little more selfish!
This is one of my biggest WHY's in my business! I want to help other women get all of their business, branding and website stuff set up RIGHT from the beginning so they can move forward more efficiently and effectively... without having to suffer as long as I have!
If you'd like to work with me, check out my design packages and services.
This past July, I was finally able to pay off ALL of my credit card debt... the debt I had accrued over the first 2 years in business.
Initially I had started my own design and marketing business, yet I had no idea how to market myself or run a business in general (it's a whole new ball game when you go from working in an office with a team of people and having work found for you VS finding your own clients, doing the creative work, doing your own accounting, being your sales and customer service team and just wearing ALL THE HATS.)
Truth be told, I was only good at the design part. I sucked at marketing, finding clients, pricing my services correctly, managing my time and running a business in general, which was a bit of a blow to my ego, if I'm being honest.
For a long time, I could barely make enough each month just to pay my bills (which were around $2,000) and most months I only made about $1,000-$1,400 total, even after working my ass off.
Naturally, I started charging everything on credit cards, with the hope of some day being able to pay it all off (don't the majority of Americans think that way these days?)
Looking back, I like to justify this as my "self-taught entrepreneurship education tuition." Five years of learning cost me about $8,000/year.
This is something to think about if you're starting your own business and looking to go the "cheaper," DIY route.
You totally can learn and do everything yourself, BUT it's probably not going to be cheaper. The DIY route is definitely going to cost you more time, more money and more struggles in the long run.
This is one of the main reasons why I think it's important for any new entrepreneur or business owner to invest in their business right from the beginning and then learn how to do some of this stuff theirselves later, to save more money down the line, when they have more time to spend learning how to do it.
Here are some examples of investing in your business:
- sign up for free and/or paid online courses to help you learn faster.
- hire a professional to design your branding and set your website up correctly and with SEO so you attract the right clients with more ease.
- get a virtual assistant to do the tedious things that you don't like to do/have time to do and focus more on the things that only you can do yourself.
It took me about 3 years before I started making enough money just to pay my bills each month. From 2015 - 2016, my income doubled itself (thanks to SEO and passive income!) and that's when I was really able to start putting money towards my debt.
Here are some other things I did to help me pay off my debt faster:
- I moved to a cheaper place and with a nicer roommate (as opposed to some of the crazy ones I've had in the past who caused me to have to keep moving every few months... a major time, energy and money sucker!)
- I stopped going out as much with friends (shopping, movies, dinners, drinks, paying for covers at bars/clubs... all of those things add up quick!)
- I cut back on traveling and vacations (I needed time off, but I really couldn't afford time off... I had responsibilities to take care of and the quicker I took care of them, the quicker I could get to a place where I actually DESERVED to take time off! It was also really hard to see my friends taking vacations all the time and saying they really needed them. It was even harder to hear them saying they didn't enjoy their vacations because of this reason or that reason. I wished I could afford to GO on a vacation at all! And to visit some of the beautiful places they were visiting! I think this is why I stopped hanging out with some of my friends as much... it was too hard to hear them complaining about things I wished I had and wished I could do and easier to just remove myself from that kind of toxic and draining energy.)
- I spent a majority of my free time learning how to do things to help me automate and grow my business, which, in turn, worked! (That's working ON your business VS working IN your business.)
- I put every extra penny I had towards paying off my debt each month (not paying minimums, but throwing as much as I possibly could on each of my 7 credit cards and focused on paying off one at a time.)
Since I wasn't going out and having fun as often as I used to, my life kind of sucked for a while. But all of the time, effort and sacrifices I had to make were worth getting through because I am now officially DEBT FREE! I can't tell you how freeing of a feeling this is!
I used to hate talking about money as it stressed me out... but I think that's simply because I never had much of it and I was always just scraping by. After being broke and struggling for so long, I know I never want to feel that way again. This is my major driving force in any thing I do now going forward!
Having money simply equals more freedom and less stress.
And finding ways to make more passive income allows me to feel both of those things more often. 🙂
Going forward, I'm now starting to consider investing my money into things that are going to help me feel more financially secure in the future and possibly help me create more passive income opportunities so that I won't have to work as much. Stay tuned for those!
I have been thinking about renting out a room on AirBnB for some time now, I just needed to move into a place where the landlord allowed it.
This ended up being more difficult to find than I thought, as most landlords don't allow this. If I wanted to do it, I was going to have to buy my own place, however, I wasn't going to be able to do that until I had more money saved up.
The good news was that my boyfriend, Matt, had been thinking about buying his own place for the past couple of years. In May, Matt's landlord told him he was planning on selling the condo he was living in, and since Matt didn't want to buy a 1 bedroom condo, he decided to start looking for a 2 bedroom, with the AirBnB idea in mind.
We had been dating for just over a year, and figured it was about that time to maybe move in together. If he got a 2-bedroom, we figured we could take 1 room, and then rent out the other on AirBnB.
He started looking for his own place in the May, found a place in North Park (San Diego) and ended up closing on it mid-June. It all happened pretty fast, and we ended up moving in July 1st. Two weeks later, we had our first guest through AirBnB!
I have been really nervous about doing AirBnB for some time now, because I am very protective of my home and personal space. Also, I didn't want to always have to be answering emails and texts and scheduling and coordinating things. I had enough to manage with my 4 blogs, plus client work.
But that ended up being another "false evidence appearing real" situation because after 4 months of doing it, we've had nothing but great experiences!
The first 2 weeks, we were renting out to multiple people throughout the week. Then in August, we got a notice that we couldn't do short-term rentals, only 30+ day rentals, so we had to switch up our listing. We didn't get anyone for about a month after that, which kind of sucked because then we had to pay a whole month in full (and the place we live in is pretty pricey).
But then we had someone book with us for 3 months, starting in the middle of September. Two weeks later, right before he was supposed to arrive, he canceled. Due to AirBnB's policies, guests have to forfeit their first month's rent if they cancel within a certain amount of time... so we got 1 month's rent, yet didn't have someone staying with us. Kind of made up for the month we didn't have anyone, ha!
A few days after that, a traveling nurse booked 3 months with us, so we got double the rent for one month between her and the guy who cancelled last minute! Crazy.
She's been great so far and I definitely think traveling nurses are some of the best kinds of guest you can have stay with you! They stay for a few months, they are kind and respectful and they can give referrals for other nurses so you have a better chance of booking!
Oh, and Matt and I are still going strong! I've only lived with one other boyfriend, which didn't go over well, so I was kind of scared that was going to happen again, but so far, all has been going well!
Plus I'm happy to finally be living in a NICE PLACE. You definitely get what you pay for and I've been living in cheap places for far too long (mostly because I was trying to save money while I was trying to build my business and pay off my debt.)
Below are a few preliminary pics of our place!
I qualified for the annual Herbalife vacation last year and got to go on a 4-day, all-expenses paid trip to Disney World in Florida!
This was so much fun and a gave me some-much needed time off to just relax and play. 🙂
I was allowed to bring a guest so I took Matt. We hadn't gone a vacation together (or done much of anything exciting) over the past year because we were both trying to save money (he was saving to buy his own place and I was saving to pay off my credit card debt).
I felt like this vacation came at the perfect time because it was literally right when he closed on his condo and was just a few weeks before I paid off my credit card debt... so it was like a little celebration for us after working so hard for so long. 🙂
We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where there were jungle animals right outside off our balconies!
There was also an awesome African buffet, which of course us two foodies feasted heavily on every evening!
Our first night there, Herbalife had a huge party for all of us at Typhoon Lagoon. We didn't know what to expect, but when we walked in, it was like a night club! Loud, high energy music, tons of free food and drinks, a huge wave pool and thousands of Herbalife members everywhere! It was insane!
Definitely a trip to remember!
I'm looking forward to next year's Herbalife vacation to Punta Cana! 🙂
In March, I ended up injuring my back and had to stop doing squats and deadlifts.
I started doing treatment immediately with my general chiropractor, who told me I was just out of alignment, but after two months, I was still experiencing immense pain. It hurt all the time, from to bending forward just to tie my shoes, to getting up and down from the couch, to doing certain exercises at the gym. It even hurt to sleep!
Every now and then, I would randomly break down crying because it hurt so much and I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I didn't know what was wrong with me and I didn't know what to do to fix it.
My chiropractor suggested getting an x-ray and MRI done to take a closer look at it, but since I didn't have insurance, this was going to cost me a huge chunk of money... money I couldn't really spend at the time.
So I decided to try to use YouTube to find ways to help myself for free. I found this channel: Physical Therapy Video, which helped me figure out what was probably wrong with me (bulging disk) and I learned some exercises to help lighten the pain.
But after about 7 months, I still was in immense pain and so I decided to try a Sports Chiropractic/ART Specialist.
I started seeing Dr. Travis Rose of Peak Form Health Center, in September, who told me I did have a bulging disk in my lower spine and that he had methods of treatment that have been successful with other patients, and without having to an X-ray or MRI.
So I began treatment right away. I saw him on weekly basis, having him do 30-minute ART work on me. He also gave me some exercises and stretches to work on at home on a daily basis, to help me strengthen my core, glutes, hamstrings and quads.
I felt a lot better almost immediately and now I go to him every 2 weeks. Things are slowly improving but aren't 100%. Some days are better than others and I really have to be conscious of how long I sit for, because that tends to make everything worse.
I now try to work standing at my counter or sitting on the couch, semi-laying back. This helps keep the pressure off my spine, while also keeping my legs straighter so my hip flexors don't get super tight.
In addition, I've also started squatting super light (with just the bar) which doesn't hurt when I do it, but usually does for days after... so I'm thinking of holding off on that for a bit longer. I just want to lift heavy again!
At least I can bench! (I'm getting really good at that, by the way! This past week I did 3 sets of 2 at 160 lbs.! 🙂
That's all for now!
I hope to start writing more soon so stay tuned!