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Show Notes

Today, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Monica Louie to talk about it can change your life to be your own boss, and how to build up the courage and strength to make the change. What does it take to leave the everyday world of working behind and make it on your own?

We’ll take a look at Monica’s journey, and what you can do to be your own boss. Plus, Harlan and Miranda share a little bit about their own journeys as well.

If you want to conquer Facebook Ads, take a look at Flourish with Facebook Ads, Monica’s new course. Monica helps Adulting.tv with our own advertising, which has been very successful.

Monica Louie is a Facebook ads coach and strategist who helps ambitious online entrepreneurs grow their impact and their profits with the power of Facebook ads. She has worked on more than 100 Facebook ad campaigns, including several traffic campaigns with cost per click as low as $0.01 and conversion campaigns with cost per result as low as $0.30. Her online journey began in 2015 when she shared how her family paid off $120,000 of debt in two years on a single, middle-class income. When she’s not playing in the Power Editor, she can be found hiking in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, dog, and two kids.

https://www.facebook.com/FlourishwithMonica/
https://twitter.com/MonicaRLouie
https://www.monicalouie.com/
https://flourishwithfbads.com

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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Being a solopreneur is pretty great. Except when it’s not.

We hear a lot about starting a business online and becoming your own boss. In fact, this trend is so prevalent now that it’s got its own term: solopreneur.

Most of the time, I love working from home. I also making money (mostly) on my terms. Before you decide that being a solopreneur is the move for you, here are some of the realities involved.

You set your own schedule.

One of my favorite things about being on my own is the fact that I get to set my own schedule. Since I started working for a company as a W-2 employee again there are a few more restrictions, but I work from home and still get to set my own schedule much of the time.

As a solopreneur, you have freedom and flexibility to work when you want — and from where you want. It’s freedom, and one of the things I treasure most.

Sometimes you have to work even when you don’t want to.

Ok, this is true whether you have a real job or whether you’re a solopreneur. You just have to suck it up and work sometimes.

But when you have a real job, the assumption is that you can clock out at some point and take a break. When you have a business, that’s not always the case. You might be up late working, even if you want to sleep. I can’t tell you how often I work on the weekend.

You have to force yourself to work sometimes, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. And sometimes, especially at first, you find yourself working more than you ever did while holding down a regular job.

Get ready for the self-employment tax.

One thing you don’t think about when you’re working for The Man is that your company is paying half your payroll taxes. When you’re working for yourself, you pay both parts of payroll taxes.

It’s important to be prepared. You could see a higher tax bill when you quit your job, just because you no longer have an employer subsidizing part of your taxes.

Set aside money each month to go toward taxes. I like to set aside about a third of my monthly income to go toward taxes (you might feel more comfortable adjusting this amount). And remember: you should pay quarterly to reduce the chance of problems with the IRS. Plan ahead of time to avoid money problems down the road.

Sometimes it feels like you have several bosses.

Be your own boss! You’re totally in charge!

The reality for many solopreneurs is that it can feel like you’ve got multiple bosses. There are days when I’m wrestling with multiple deadlines for different clients. I definitely don’t feel like I’m my own boss in those situations!

For freelancers, it’s common to feel as though you have more than one boss. The bright side, though, is that you have the chance to fire an unreasonable client down the road when you start seeing success.

Making money online takes more than just setting up a website.

Online entrepreneurs make it look so easy. Just set up your website and boom. The money rolls in.

But does it, really?

Sure. After you’ve put in the work. And it can take years to find success with your website or store. It can happen faster, of course, but it takes work. You need to market your website, services, and products — just like any other business.

You need a plan. You need to do the work. And you need to be realistic. If you build it, they aren’t guaranteed to come. You have to entice them.

It can get lonely cooped up in your home office.

I love working from home. And part of the reason I started doing the online thing was to avoid having to people on a regular basis.

But even introverts get lonely. We need to talk to people sometimes, too. As a solopreneur, though, that human contact might not be as frequent as you’d like.

You can ease the pain a bit by heading to a co-working space or a coffee shop. Meetups, conferences, and video calls can also help. Plus, if you have a life partner who works from home, that can provide you with support as well. Of course, having your life partner at home all the time with you can have its own drawbacks.

Your friends and family just don’t get what you do.

Working online as a solopreneur is hard to explain to friends and family. I’ve got people assuming I can just drop everything and do things for them left and right.

And my IRL acquaintances think what I do is a quaint hobby. Um, no, I support my family.

Trying to explain what I do to my grandma? She didn’t think I’d “made it” until she actually saw my name in the newspaper.

Luckily, as the internet becomes an increasingly acceptable way to make a living, and as the gig economy becomes a Thing, it’s easier to explain what I do. But sometimes it can be truly maddening.

It’s possible to go to the spa on Thursday.

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy a flexible schedule?

This is my favorite reality of being a solopreneur. I love going to the spa on Thursday. I can almost always get an appointment, there aren’t many people there, and I can truly relax while my son is at school. It’s perfect.

Maybe the spa isn’t your thing. Maybe it’s golf. Or going to lunch with a friend. Perhaps you just want to go for a hike or play paintball. Whatever it is, go wild.

Just realize that you might have to make up for it by working on Sunday afternoon.

All your friends are working when you want to play.

It’s nice that you can go to a matinee movie on Wednesday afternoon. But you better like going alone. Because your friends with real jobs are all working.

This is a tough reality for many solopreneurs. They’re so excited that they can set a schedule to their liking, but what happens when everyone else is still on the 9-to-5 grind?

I get around it by meeting friends for lunch near their workplaces so we can enjoy a little time together. You can also find other friends to do things with, or even learn to be your own best friend.

You are responsible for your success.

This is the biggest, scariest, harshest reality of being a solopreneur. It’s also the most liberating aspect of being out there on your own. The fact that you are totally in charge of your own success is a huge deal — and it can make you or break you.

I love thinking that I can chart my own course. Even if you are still working your real job, and your solopreneurship is mostly in the side hustle stage right now, you are still taking control of your future success.

To me, even though there are hard realities associated with doing what I do, the biggest reality is also the most encouraging reality.

Are you a solopreneur? Tell us your story in the #Adulting community on Facebook

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Your blog is great but no one knows it. People need to know about your work. Get your social media game up.

This blogger makes $111,000 a month. This guy makes $17 million a year. She makes a good six-figures a month.

Blogging is fun and a great way to make money if you do it right, but the path from $0, or from being in the red because of start-up costs, to three figures per month can be elusive.

What should a new blogger consider to go from red, or flat, to black? A critical component of a blogging strategy is social media strategy.

The blogosphere is part of the virtual world. Therefore, it’s important to use virtual marketing in a way that lets the virtual world know you exist and how you help your readers.

As personal finance bloggers who talk to the LGBT community, what’s worked for us and the bloggers above have been different. Based on your blog’s focus, personality, and audience, you will also need to develop a unique social media plan.

You may need to nuance what I write below to better target your demographic. But, this will give you some direction from my personal experience.

Social media is plain marketing.

At its simplest, a social media strategy is just marketing. It’s different (but not much different) than when businesses pay for advertisements on the radio or television.

But, this is why I love the new gig-economy so much – the barrier to start a business today is so much lower than in the past. Unlike the old economy when you needed a lot of money to advertise on the radio and television, which could take all your revenue or savings, you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars into advertising today. You can start with a few advertising dollars and then scale up as your business grows.

Besides cost, compared to traditional advertising, another difference lies is in the name. Social media lets you be social with your readers, listeners, followers, or whatever you call the people you connect with and serve. The ability to engage with your audience is HUGE. You can talk one-on-one with them. You can follow them on social media, as they follow you, and it’s not creepy.

Engaging on social media is great because it lets you learn about your audience, how they talk and what they need. Learning about your audience helps you create the content, products, and services they need.

Rather than investing thousands of dollars in market research about a product or service you want to provide, a simple poll on Facebook or Twitter with an $100 Amazon gift card is all you need.

So, what social media strategies do you need? That depends on who you are, what you blog about, and where your audience is.

No matter what, you probably need to be on Facebook.

There are two gigantic players in the virtual world and no matter your feelings towards them, you need to learn to live and work with them. They are Google and Facebook.

To work with Google, you’ll need to learn or hire someone who is good with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For this article, we’ll focus on Facebook.

Yes, there are reports that Facebook usage is down and even lower for younger people, but to some extent, everyone is on Facebook. My 77-year-old mother and father just joined Facebook this summer. While they still don’t get it, they’re on Facebook, and they’re at least stalking people.

To promote your blog on Facebook, you’ll want to create a business page. For many reasons, I’d advise against mixing your blogger profile on your personal profile. However, the first people who will follow your business page will be your friends, family and colleagues. So, don’t be afraid to invite them from your business page to like your business page.

It is, however, okay to share some of your personal life on your business page. Personal updates as they relate to your blog topic are significant. The occasional quirky or non-blog topic related updates are engaging. Being too off topic too often, though, will confuse your audience.

For your lead image, so the virtual world knows you’re a human, it’s ideal to use your image. You can superimpose your blog or brand logo over your image, so the other humans learn your brand.

From your business page, hook and link to your latest blog article. Provide enough information on your Facebook post about your latest blog article that’ll capture your followers’ interest, then provide the link to your article followed by a period (.) so Facebook doesn’t make your link disappear.

Likewise, you’ll want to include an image on your Facebook post that ties with your latest blog article. The image size should be 940px x 492px and include zero to minimal verbiage. Facebook now owns Instagram and images with too many characters aren’t permitted on Instagram. Consequently, Facebook’s algorithms also won’t promote posts with images that have too much verbiage. This throttle will slow traffic to your blog.

Add Facebook Pixel to your blog. Just like social media allows you to engage with and learn more about your audience, Facebook Pixel lets you learn even more by capturing demographic information about who visits your blog. This additional information will help when you create ads with Facebook Audience to target your blog articles, products and services to specific audiences.

Every Facebook post on a business page can be boosted to reach a bigger audience. There’s a blue button at the bottom right of each post that says, creatively, “Boost.” This feature lets bloggers choose high-level demographic information (location, interests, age, etc.) to promote their post to particular audiences. This is ideal for getting started and requires a minimal investment of money.

That said, it seems that once Facebook learns a business page owner will pay to promote posts, it does whatever it can to incentivize more paid post promotions by that business owner. Keep that in mind before you start paying and make sure you’re prepared to pay more money more often.

Facebook Audience complements Facebook Pixel in that it lets bloggers drill deeper into the demographic information (income, the number of lines of credit, zip codes) of a blog’s audience captured by Facebook Pixel.

This level of information is helpful for all businesses, including bloggers, because you can target the right content, products, and services to the right audience, even more so than television advertising, and convert more traffic to your blog or sales of your goods and services.

Since you’re on Facebook, you may as well be on Instagram.

As I said, Facebook owns Instagram, and that’s why your images must be conducive to both social media platforms. Therefore, it makes sense to be on both. Consequently, there’s renewed interest in Instagram.

Instagram is where you share pictures and videos. This is especially ideal for food bloggers because who doesn’t love to look at or watch food? Instagram’s also good for fashion, photograph, and lifestyle bloggers. Essentially, any topic or niche with a good visual component is good for Instagram.

I’ll be honest, as a personal finance blogger, I’m still figuring out Instagram. Capturing the lifestyle component of being and living debt free seems to work. Also, appropriately using hashtags is important. For example, “#LGBT, #GayPride, #Homosexual” targets my images to people who use similar hashtags.

Twitter Is great for B2B.

Twitter is struggling to monetize itself, and it can feel like drinking from a fire hose, but Twitter is still relevant. A nightly news segment doesn’t go by that doesn’t include a tweet from some politician or celebrity, our current president notwithstanding.

For my business, Twitter has been great for connecting with other personal finance bloggers, investment firms, banks and financial publications, and influencers and celebrities. The relationships that I’ve built with investment companies and banks have been valuable to my business because they let me create brand ambassadorships that have made me good money.

Connecting with my fellow personal finance bloggers and celebrities has been icing on the dough. The connections I’ve made with financial publications have built my most consistent stream of income as a personal finance freelance writer.

Create a Twitter profile for your blog. Provide a brief profile description of who you are and what you do and, again, use a personal picture as the profile picture, so the Twitter-sphere knows you’re a human. Then, follow other bloggers in your niche, businesses you have an interest in and might be able to partner with, and other humans who you think may be interested in your blog.

For us, we frequently search “#LGBTQ or #gay” to find other LGBTQ people who may be interested in living successful financial lives.

After you follow people and businesses, engage with them. Like, comment on, and share their content. When you’ve engaged enough, occasionally tag them on a tweet that promotes a blog article of yours. Whether you tag anyone on a tweet or not, if you link to a blog article, write an enticing hook to your article in 140 characters or fewer.

Images, again, are necessary. Horizontal and clean are best.

Pinterest wants to be Google, so you may want to be on Pinterest.

Pinterest is investing a ton of money to be the alternative resource to Google and to appeal to men. Currently, most people on Pinterest are women. If you’re a women blogger blogging about any topic traditionally appealing to women: cooking, fashion, beauty products, home organization, etc., then you must be on Pinterest.

You may wonder why a gay personal finance blogger, who blogs for the LGBT community, has a social media presence on Pinterest. In 2015, Pinterest invested $15 million to connect specifically with men. Surely to holy Mother Nature, two to four percent of those men Pinterest reaches are gay.

Pinterest is uniquely more helpful to bloggers than any other social media platform because every other platform tries to keep its users on its platform. While the other social media platforms are essential in building an audience and traffic, the hoarding of traffic is a constant challenge for bloggers.

Pinterest, on the other hand, wants to lead its users to the content that’s most useful to its users with the long-game plan of being the alternative to, or replacing Google to its users.

Create a business account on Pinterest. Create up to ten boards that cover different topics related to your blog. This way people who visit your profile can see what you’re all about and then look and share your pins. For example, I have “Best of Debt Free Guys,” “Gay Travel,” “Money Podcasts” and more.

Describe who you are and what you do. Again, use a personal image on your profile. If you’re a straight man, it’s ideal if you include a picture with your wife or girlfriend and kids, if you have kids. The reason is that most Pinterest users are women and they typically think a Pinterest page by a man may not appeal to them. It’s branding, not sexism.

Post pins on your various boards as appropriate. Your pins should be “rich pins” – high-resolution images that relate and link to your blog article and are 1,000px x 2,000px.

This article includes enough information to start your social media strategy. One of the six-figure-a-month bloggers above has nailed the Pinterest strategy. So, click here, here, here and here to see what the pro is doing. That’s what I do.

Honorable mentions: LinkedIn and YouTube.

That’s my primary social media strategy. If your blog is more corporate-like or career-focused, you might try LinkedIn.

I dabble in YouTube videos but haven’t had the time to perfect them. I do okay in part because reading about money can be dry sometimes and videos let me inject even more personality than my writing. If you’re a beauty blogger/vlogger (video blogger), for example, YouTube may be the platform for you. Follow and learn from other vloggers.

Starting a social media strategy can feel daunting. I tried to start everything at once and failed several times. I’d recommend choosing one platform to start and then adding another platform once you get better with the previous platform. You may eventually learn that a platform you tried doesn’t work for you and that’s fine.

I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time on Periscope, even though when I saw U2 use it on their Denver visit, I was very tempted.

The important thing is that you start a blog because a blog is an excellent way to diversify your income stream or even replace the income stream you already have.

If you have a blog, how has social media – or the lack of a social media presence – affected your blog’s success? What is your favorite social media platform! Please share with us over at the #Adulting Facebook community.

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A resume is stale. Show who you really are. Learn how a blog can really make you shine.

So, is it time to update your resume and LinkedIn profile? You can do that, but it’s not enough.

No, really. Resumes are so 2009. LinkedIn profiles may be a little better.

What you need is a blog. Why? For starters, a blog is a more robust example of who you are and what you can do.

Improve and demonstrate your writing skills.

Good writing skills are essential for most jobs. Whether you’re a customer service representative, a journalist, or a team manager, your writing needs to be clear, accurate, and compelling – unless you’re a doctor.

Admittedly, far too much business today is done by email. That said, if your emails to clients are confusing or droll, you won’t be effective.

Rather than learn good writing skills on the job, learn at home. Your blog readers, who will likely be your friends and family at first, will let you know if your writing isn’t making sense. I won’t hear from friends or family for years, but I’ll get an email or direct message when they notice a mistake in my writing.

You don’t have to go solo, though, there are numerous online courses that you can take to help with your writing. Some are free. Some are cheap. A good writing course is worth it.

Improve and demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

Businesses are desperate for critical thinkers. Those who excel do more than regurgitate information. Hiring managers and business leaders want to know that their teams can manipulate and apply information and data in a way that’s useful and beneficial to the organization.

What better way to make sure you’re interpreting information accurately and coming to unique, valuable conclusions than to share your interpretations with the world on your blog and social media?

In 2011, when I posted my first blog post with my name on it, I had to work up the courage. I was concerned about what people would think. They might’ve thought my ideas were stupid, so I was prepared to rebut their rebuttals. They might’ve called out my writing, spelling and grammar skills, so I proofed, proofed and reproofed before I hit publish.

Hitting the publish button for the first time took me way too long. I’ve gotten much better in the last six years, and that’s a skill I can take to any job, whether I work for myself or someone else.

Show your personal brand.

Personal brands are gold these days. It’s harder for businesses today than generations past to market to and attract an audience. Unless it’s aired during the Super Bowl, a television commercial, like a resume, doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did. Therefore, businesses are looking for creative solutions to be recognized and to grow their buyers.

This is why a person with a solid personal brand is valuable to a business.

The best way to show potential business partners or employers your true self is with your blog. If an employer can scroll through even a few months of your blog, they’ll get a somewhat accurate understanding of who you are. Therefore, they’ll have a good idea if you can work together and, if so, of how you can work together.

Take, for example, a hair stylist. If a hair stylist, going through school, posts their work online and their work is consistently good or shows improvement, they can share their blog or portfolio with prospective employers and the hiring employer will have a good understanding of the candidate.

Build a following.

A personal brand backed by a substantial social media following is platinum. You don’t have to be an A-List YouTube star (if that’s such a thing). But, if you have an audience who likes and listens to you, you have leverage when business opportunities arise.

If that same hair stylist also posts their work on Instagram in addition to their blog, and they grow their Instagram following to one thousand, ten thousand, or more, they’re even more valuable to a prospective employer.

Also, the risk of failure for the stylist with the big Instagram following opening their own salon is less because they can guarantee a percentage of their followers will follow them to whatever salon they go.

Build a platform for your other skills.

In today’s economy, it’s good to have multiple streams of income. Employees no longer spend a lifetime working for the same employer. Even staying with the same job, within the same company for more than a few years is considered antiquated. The best way for employees to feel financially secure is to not rely on one source of income.

A blog is a great part-time job. Your blog can focus on your hobby, something entirely different from your day job. Or, it can complement what you do during the day.

Take, for example, someone who wants to be a nanny abroad. Thousands of people want to be nannies in different parts of the world. Being a nanny will be the prospective employee’s primary job. However, they could start a blog about how they went from the idea of becoming a nanny abroad to actually becoming a nanny abroad.

Blog readers can use the nanny’s blog as the template for how to become nannies themselves. Everyone can learn from the mistakes and successes of the nanny. The nanny can continue blogging about their experiences, what they like and don’t like, what they learn, and about other nanny jobs.

They could eventually monetize their nanny blog with ads and sponsored posts. They can become a resource for the nanny industry and write books, make videos, and become a speaker all because of a blog.

Have an accountability journal.

Another value of having a blog is that it can act as your accountability. If you’re striving to achieve a goal, such as paying off debt or losing weight, sharing your goals with the world makes it harder to quit when you don’t succeed as fast or as quickly as you’d like.

Likewise, people with the same or similar goals can act as your support, share their stories to help, and inspire you and others. Plus, everyone can learn from your trials and tribulations.

You can, essentially, create a community of people to help and uplift each other. Connecting with people because of your blog is even better than monetizing it.

Resumes are outdated.

Finally, resumes are static and stale. It’s easy to pad a resume and use the right words to make even the most mundane success seem incredible. Resumes won’t go away anytime soon because they’re an executive summary of your accomplishments.

A blog, though, has life and personality. It can demonstrate everything about you. To be sure, no recruiter or hiring manager will sift through every page of your blog and every video you create, but they don’t have to do all that.

Anyone considering hiring or working with you will easily and quickly get a sense of who you are from your blog. That’s why a blog is a nice complement to your resume.

So, don’t skip updating your resume or LinkedIn profile. But, complement them with a blog and stand out from others. Starting a blog isn’t as hard as you think and the value is more than worth it.

Have you seen success with a blog or have any questions about starting one? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Looking for more quality time with your S.O.? Start a business together. Just make sure you’re really cut out for a shared business.

Many moons ago, actually 495 moons ago, my husband and I decided that we were done with our W-2s.

We were tired of working for someone else, seeking other people’s seemingly impossible approval, and letting someone else dictate our income and quality of life. So, we started our own business and haven’t looked back.

If you’re thinking of working with your life partner or spouse, you may want to know that it’s pretty awesome. It’s not just me who thinks that, as you’ll see. Others think it, as well. Here are some of the myriad of reasons to work with your partner.

You can spend more time together.

I’ll start with the most nauseous reason first. The first and primary reason we started a business together is because we want to spend more time together. We happen to like each other, so, why not spend more time together?

With traveling to and from work, preparing for work, working and sleeping, we were only seeing each other a few hours a day. We were living for the weekends, but the weekends were too infrequent and too short. So, we made an employment change.

Plus, rather than text each other all day from separate locations, we can now just look up across the table.

Masterminding.

There’s something special about growing something special with your best friend. This is usually why couples make babies. Growing a business isn’t too unlike raising children. They both take patience, perseverance, creativity, money, and love.

Holly Porter Johnson of the ClubThrifty.com says, “Working with your partner is awesome because you get to dream together! I love coming up with new ideas and bringing them to fruition with my husband by my side. There is no greater joy than growing something together and becoming successful as a team.”

We couldn’t agree more. Working with your life partner is a great way to boost all your ideas and make the most of life and business.

Dividing and conquering.

Even though it’s your own business, you still often must meet the expectations of others. Sometimes those expectations come with deadlines and sometimes they come with demands. In these circumstances, we divide and conquer.

Mrs. Frugalwoods of Frugalwoods.com says, “By dividing and conquering—and focusing on our individual strengths—as partners (in love and money), we excel at creating genuine, relatable content that not only expands our brands, but also deepens our relationship.”

We both understand our business and both have a vested interest in its success. Either of us can take the helm when necessary and we work well together the rest of the time. This makes for happier clients, better service, and a stronger bond.

Motivate each other.

Building a business is hard, but it’s easier when you build one with someone else. Getting out of bed is hard, but it’s easier to get out of bed when the person next to you is getting out of bed, too.

There are times when you just don’t wanna. Usually, we don’t have that feeling at the same time. So, when one needs a pick-me-up, the other’s there and vice versa. When it’s hard to see the bright side, the other is there to shine the light.

Working with your life partner is great when you have built-in support.

Complement each other.

There are some things he’s good at doing and there are other things I’m good at doing. This, like dividing and conquering, let’s us take advantage of each of our strengths.

Personally, my husband is great with coming up with a million good ideas. He fails on the execution of those ideas. I struggle with ideas and am good with execution.

Likewise, he’s good with technology and I’m good with words. So, with the foundation of our business being an online blog, he keeps the lights on and I keep them coming back for more.

Save cost-of-working costs.

The reason many families have multiple cars is because each family member has a different job. That’s more cars, more gas and more car insurance. When you’re a home-based business of two that shares a bed, you really only need one car.

Working with your life partner cuts down on other costs, too.

Aside from our public speaking, most of our business is behind a laptop. Therefore, we don’t need as many “work clothes,” packed lunches, and Tupperware or contracted services such as a cleaning person or personal chef. We had a personal chef for a year while we were building out business and both working a W-2.

Now we have the time to take care of these things.

Lunch dates.

Even though fewer people do work lunches anymore, some business partners have the occasional lunch date. When you work with your partner, every lunch (and breakfast and dinner) is a true-blue lunch date.

Usually, we eat lunch while we watch an inspirational talk or video on YouTube, but it’s more special watching these with your someone special than watching them alone. Likewise, when we’re inspired we have someone with whom to be inspired.

Not only are these lunch dates good quality time, but they’re also a relaxing time to brainstorm solutions to struggles we’re having. As Mrs. 1500 of 1500Days.com says, “The Mister and I have a pretty solid relationship. He’s my best friend, and I know that he has my back with anything. That part’s really important.”

If you’re considering working with your life partner, know that it’s a work relationship that can work.

It may not be for everyone, but the from the other co-working couples we know and our own personal experience, it’s pretty lit.

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Cheap labor. People who love you. Hiring family members for your business seems like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, it isn’t. It could go very, very wrong.

If you’ve ever started a company, you’ve probably at least considered hiring family. Just about everyone has a sibling, cousin, or nephew who needs a job – and may even have the skills to make it work.

In some cases when you hire family members, the arrangement can be fantastic. Not only are you working with someone you presumably have a deep personal connection with, but you’re helping a loved one and getting an opportunity to spend more time with them.

If it goes sour, all of a sudden you’re spending Thanksgiving with your spouse’s family and explaining to every nosy second cousin what went wrong.

This is so situational – and so controversial – it’s hard to say for sure what the best option is.

Before you make a decision about whether or not to hire family members, carefully think through the situation. Here’s a detailed analysis of the pros and cons to help you decide what’s best for your business.

The advantages when you hire family members.

A family member is always more invested in your success than a random stranger, no matter how carefully vetted they are. When you’re starting a small business from scratch, you want your employees to care as much about the idea as you do.

Someone who you’ve known for your entire life is also more willing to be honest with you.

It’s hard to give a new boss criticism, but a family member shouldn’t have a problem speaking up when they feel you’re leading the ship astray.

Anytime you’re growing a business, you need those working under you to give real feedback, not just what you want to hear. A strange face might be hesitant to share a conflicting opinion, but not your big sister who grew up giving you wedgies.

One huge benefit to hiring someone close to you is that they probably need less time to settle into the business. It often takes a few months for you to feel comfortable with a new coworker, but your family member should be able to dive into the culture a lot faster.

Author and speaker Kylie Travers has hired her sisters off and on since 2009 when she first started her business. She’s never had issues with working with them.

“My sisters and I think alike so it was easier having them work for me than trying to explain everything to others,” she said.

The disadvantages when you hire family members.

The biggest downside to hiring a loved one to help you with a business is the looming question of how it will affect your relationship.

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where you all end up millionaires sipping cocktails on a beach, but it’s just as likely you’ll end up bankrupt and out of business.

The fact is, most startups fail. If you’ve asked your cousin to quit his or her day job to help you with your dream, they might be resentful if it doesn’t work out.

This is even more concerning if they’ve invested their own money in the company. Do you want to be responsible for your loved one losing their house because they sunk their finances into your startup?

Doug Nordman, blogger at The Military Guide and angel investor said he doesn’t think it makes sense to hire family members. In general, he doesn’t believe they should work together.

“Spouses or siblings are not necessarily a deal-killer, but at best it’s neutral and it’s usually a negative,” he said.

Another issue is the possibility of having to reprimand or even fire your relative.

When you disagree with an employee, the incident stays at work. When you argue with a coworker who’s also your little brother, the quarrel can follow you to the family wedding the next day, or that holiday dinner six months from now.

How to make it work.

If you’re worried about potential problems but still want to hire family members to help with your startup business, it’s imperative to talk it through beforehand. Ask about their working style, any issues they’ve had in the past, and anything they’re worried about.

You can also establish some ground rules, such as no business talk during family events and no venting to outside family members about work conflicts. If the venture goes south, you don’t want to suddenly divide the family between the two of you.

Damien Peters has worked with his brother several times, but never for long durations. Though they’re close, Peters said they think too differently to work together on a permanent or full-time basis. While Peters said that plenty of family members have issues being colleagues, not every family needs to avoid doing so.

“If it makes sense for your skills and relationship, try it out temporarily and set boundaries upfront,” he said.

Before you hire your loved ones, consider working together on a temporary basis.

Agree that if either person wants to terminate the arrangement at the end of the trial period, they can do so without backlash. That way, you can experience what it’s like to work together but not be committed right off the bat.

In the end, you have to do what’s best for your business and your family relationships. You can’t get caught up in trying to force the situation if it’s just not working. With a little experimentation, you can figure out pretty quickly if it makes sense to hire family members for your business.

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Eva Baker from Teens Got Cents and The Teenpreneur Conference shares how being an entrepreneur while in school gives you valuable skills.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Eva Baker from Teens Got Cents and The Teenpreneur Conference join Harlan and Miranda today to talk about the experience of being an entrepreneur while in high school and/or college, and why entrepreneurship is an important piece of educational development.

Watch the live video above or listen to just the podcast audio by using the player below.

Hosted byMiranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Tired of the soul-sucking 9-to-5 job? You can prepare to ditch it for good. Here’s how to plan your escape.

Less than a year ago, I quit my job.

I didn’t quit working. I just quit working for someone else. I feel as good today about that decision as the day I left.

The best part about quitting my traditional job was watching the cycle of emotions my friends and family went through after I told them I quit.

Their eyes opened wide when they heard the news. This was followed restrained winces, as they considered the loss of steady income, health, and insurance, security, two weeks of vacation a year. All those things we expect from a job.

Then, as if on cue, they’d drift into a daydream and pondered quitting their own jobs.

If you dream of a life of employer independence, you too can leave the 9-to-5. Here are five keys that helped me take that major step:

Sticking to what I know.

One of the main reasons people say they can’t quit their day job and start their own business is that they don’t know what to do. Don’t think too hard about it and get stuck in analysis paralysis. Stick with what you enjoy, are already doing, or are good at doing.

Listen. If the universe is pulling you in a certain direction, go.

My and my husband’s careers have been in finance. Despite this, when got together we had a combined total of $51,000 in credit card debt. We applied our theoretical and practical knowledge to pay off our debt and turn our net worth around.

We enjoy finance, investing, and financial planning. Because of our experiences and our desire to help others with their money, we’re using our personal and professional experiences as the foundation of our business.

We put ourselves out as writers, speakers, podcasters, and experts on personal finance and we’re now helping others and, in turn, growing a business that let me leave the 9-to-5 grind. David’s not far behind me.

We saved money.

Before I quit my W-2 job, we added an additional $10,000 to our existing emergency savings account.

We did this by cutting back on non-essential spending and putting it into our emergency savings account with no bells or whistles. We don’t have debit cards or checking writing on this account. We don’t connect it to other accounts for outgoing electronic funds transfers (EFT). This money is hard, though not impossible, to access. This reduces urges to spend this money on whims.

We’ve resumed some of the habits we used to pay off our $51,000 in credit card debt. This includes only buying groceries that are either on sale or for which we have coupons. We cook at home rather than dine out. Cardboardeaux has replaced Bordeaux because it’s cheaper per bottle and stores longer.

All of this is temporary and we know this is temporary. We can live frugally today to grow our business because we lived frugally yesterday to pay off our debt.

Hustling harder than ever.

Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

I used to think I worked hard at my W-2, but I worked just hard enough to keep my boss happy.

I’ve never worked so hard in my life as I am now on our business.

With each day, the 9-to-5 is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, but to say it’s been easy would be disingenuous.

There’s a meme of an iceberg I frequently share on Facebook. Ten percent of the iceberg is above water and represents the “overnight success” that people see. Ninety percent of the iceberg is below water and represents the work no one sees: waking up at 4:30 am, working until midnight, on weekends, and holidays.

There are times that I’ve questioned if this is worth it. When I hear about rush-hour traffic jams, friends stressed about their bosses and disappointment with nominal raises, I’m reminded that it is.

I prepped.

There were steps I took before I decided to actually leave the 9-to-5.

I researched and updated my health insurance, acquired life insurance, and created a plan to consolidate my employer-sponsored 401(k) with my personal broker.

We talked with our accountant about what my W-2 and 1099 employment status changes would mean for our personal income taxes. We created a week-to-week budget that accommodates our drop in regular income.

Being thorough and meticulous before I quit has made temporarily cutting our income in half a little easier.

I took the leap.

Finally, I took the leap. Many people struggle to make big and seemingly scary life changes because they’re waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect time. As Voltaire said, “better is the enemy of the good.”

Many people struggle to make big and seemingly scary life changes because they’re waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect time. As Voltaire said, “better is the enemy of the good.”

To be fair, I delayed my original termination date by 90 days because my employer asked me to complete a project on which my team was working. I considered delaying my termination again because the economy showed signs of weakness. The problem is we can always come up with reasons to stick with the safe and familiar.

Some people might say we should’ve saved more than that extra $10,000. Others might say I should’ve waited until after the last presidential election ended. Still more might say leaving, at all, was foolish.

Despite all the reasons I could’ve manufactured, I leaped and I don’t regret it.

If your dream is to leave the 9-to-5 behind, too, these five steps may help you. I challenge you to be thorough and meticulous before you take such a leap, but I also challenge you to not get paralyzed by fear or analysis.

As Zig Ziglar said, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

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Do you want to work abroad and live your life from anywhere in the world? Sarah Li Cain shows how you can live this flexible lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

On today’s episode of Adulting.tv LIVE!, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Sarah Li Cain from High Fiving Dollars. Today we’ll discuss what it takes to travel beyond your home, see the world, and enjoy living and working outside of the United States.

Sarah Li Cain is a financial storyteller who weaves practical tips and strategies into her work so that those trying to change their money mindset can see themselves in the starring role. You can find her over at High Fiving Dollars where she answers readers questions or spilling her guts out on her latest money experiment.

Watch the video above or listed to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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Trying to figure out what to sell online? An online sales business can change your lifestyle.

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Today, Harlan and Miranda are joined by Steve Chou from My Wife Quit Her Job. On this episode of Adulting.tv LIVE! we will discuss finding the best product to start an e-commerce business. Selling products online can be a great way to earn a living.

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. He currently works for a startup company in the Silicon Valley.

Watch the video above or listen to just the audio by using the player below.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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For a limited time you’ll receive our new book, The Best Bank Accounts for Adults, when you sign up!