038: Unemployed to Self-Employed with LaTisha Styles

LaTisha “Tish” Styles is a nationally recognized millennial personal finance expert and digital marketing professional. She is the founder of Young Finances and President of Financial Success Media, LLC.

In this episode, LaTisha and I discuss her #1 money tip, her story with money, and her inspiring entrepreneurial journey. So let’s dig in. Let’s meet today’s Master of Money.

LaTisha Styles

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I hope you enjoyed that. A big thank you to LaTisha for giving us the gold today.

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The Importance of Setting Goals

You’ve heard it a hundred times before but it remains true – goals are the way to achieve success; not only financially but in all areas of life. LaTisha doesn’t only set goals, but she keeps them in front of her so that she can be very intentional about working on them and can know when she has achieved them.

LaTisha shared her next big business goal with us: $15,000 per month in income, 15,000 email subscribers, and 5,000 in her Facebook group.

She does set personal finance goals as well, but they are tied to her income goals in the business. So as she meets her business goals, she can accomplish some personal goals like paying off student loans. You can see how meeting one set of goals helps you to meet other goals. They work together and they feed off of each other.

This is one of the biggest benefits of entrepreneurship, that you can set income goals. If you are an employee, you can’t really change your income at a high level like you can when you own a business. You are at the mercy of your employer as to what you bring home which in turn decides which personal goals you can meet and at what speed.

Latisha’s “Come to Jesus” Moment

LaTisha was a goal setter even as a kid; she just knew she was going to grow up to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And while that goal changed a she got older, she never lost sight of the value of knowing where she was headed and how she was going to get there.

However, that doesn’t mean that she always had control of her finances. She had a moment where the shame was so deep she knew she never wanted to be in that position again.

When LaTisha graduated from college, the recession was in full swing. She had credit card debt and no job prospects. When a job did come through, it wouldn’t have paid enough for her to live on and pay her debts. She knew right then that she never again wanted to be in a position where money was in control of her life. She wanted to be able to make her own decisions.

Setting a Budget to Pay Off Debt
A phone call with a credit card collector gave LaTisha the desire to get out of debt and never be controlled by money again, but she had to figure out a way to get there. That’s when she set up her first budget.

She knew she had to spend less than she made. She had been spending about $1.20 for every $1 she earned, so she set a goal to only spend $.75 of each $1. With that plan in place, she would be able to afford to live and pay off her debts as well.

Because she couldn’t even afford the monthly payments on her credit cards, LaTisha chose to go through a credit counseling agency to help her pay those off. It’s not something that everyone will need to do, but for her situation, it was the right choice. It got her to a place where she actually could pay them off without being overwhelmed by late fees and other costs.

Dealing with Discouragement and Burnout

LaTisha was excited to get started on her debt repayment plan. The company she had chosen to work with was dealing with all of her creditors and all she had to do was send them one check every month which they would then distribute to the creditors.

The first few months went great. During the whole first year, LaTisha never lost focus or drive in getting things paid off. But by year 2, she was dealing with burnout. There were months she didn’t even send in her payment to the counseling office.

This, she says, is the part nobody talks about; the race out of the gate to get the debt paid and then the sheer exhaustion that sets in after living on such a tight budget for so long. She struggled through years 2 and 3, but once she hit the mid-point and began to see her balances drop, she was re-energized and more determined than ever to see it through.

All the Tricks LaTisha Used to Live on a Budget

When LaTisha decided to live on a budget and pay off her debt, she used an old-fashioned spreadsheet to track her income and her expenses. But she also used a unique feature that her bank offered to control her spending.

Hidden accounts were offered by LaTisha’s bank and she used them to keep money in savings without spending it. She knew that if she could see the money, she would spend the money. She could stick money in the hidden account and know that it was safe if she couldn’t see it.

LaTisha is a huge believer in doing what works for you, so if you need a spreadsheet, use a spreadsheet. If you prefer software, then use software. If sticky notes work best for you, then invest in some sticky notes. The point is to use what will help you stick to your budget and different people prefer different tools.

Setting Goals when You Are Self-Employed

LaTisha has quit 2 jobs in the past couple of years; first, to begin her business and then later to go full-time in it. Since she has been full-time, her revenue has doubled and she is beginning to see some of the growth that she has worked for.

But going full-time has meant scaling back on some of her student loan repayment and she is okay with that. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t carry the same level of security as bringing home a steady paycheck, so there may be times when you have to put some things on hold while you scale the business.

Show Notes

Time Stamp

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 03:40 The importance of setting goals and how achieving one goal helps you to achieve others
  • 05:38 LaTisha’s advice to someone who has never set goals and isn’t convinced of the benefits
  • 06:40 Latisha’s “come to Jesus” moment that drove her never again let money control her
  • 08:10 How setting a budget and using credit counseling helped LaTisha pay off her debt
  • 10:48 The burnout that she experienced in years 2 and 3 of paying off her debt
  • 14:30 Learning to use credit cards properly after abusing them for years
  • 18:00 Using hidden bank accounts to stick to her budget
  • 21:10 Setting financial goals when you are self-employed
  • 26:30 LaTisha’s method for choosing stocks to invest in individually
  • 30:45 How LaTisha pushes on with debt repayment and building the business

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Last Edited: February 12, 2018 @ 1:40 pmThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!

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