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entrepreneurship

I Want To Quit Entrepreneurship

Yall, let me get straight to the point and start this off with entrepreneurship is kicking my ass.

Now, I have to go back to give you some context. I have been working since I was 16 years old. My first job was at DSW Shoe Warehouse in March 2007. It was part-time so 10-20 hours a week, I got paid $8/hr, and was paid weekly. Not gonna lie to you, I felt pretty rich. I didn’t even need the job though. I got it because my boyfriend dumped me the day after Valentine’s Day and I needed something to occupy my time and mind – it worked by the way. I lasted 6 months at the job before I quit because I was starting my senior year and I couldn’t let work interfere with the best year of my life.

Anyways, ever since then, I have always had a job. Even while in college with scholarships, grants, and loans to pay for my tuition and housing expenses, I still worked. In the 5 years I attended school, I worked 5 different jobs. Working became part of my identity and I no longer knew a life without it. Fast forward to life after college, I started working full-time anywhere that interested me because what else was I going to do with my time. I say all this to say, the idea of entrepreneurship was never a thought in my brain – until I started teaching.

After navigating the workforce for so long and being unsatisfied with the woes of education, I realized that I needed to create income because when I give an employer the power to feed me, I also give them the power to starve me. And every time I quit a job (which was often and a blog by itself), I was starving. So much so that when I started my business back in 2019, I was still looking for jobs. I always had to keep that door open. In fact, I still look for jobs to this day.

You’re probably wondering why I did that and there are several reasons. 

  1. At that point, I had been working for others for 12 years so it became my comfort zone. This was not going to be easy to break out of.
  2. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do as an entrepreneur so keeping that employment door open allowed me to test different waters.
  3. I literally had no idea what I was doing.

I have been operating as a full-time educator/project manager and part-time entrepreneur for the last 2 years. However, something changed these last 6 months. I went into full-time entrepreneur mode. I didn’t even realize it. My last project manager contract had ended and I stopped receiving my paychecks from the school district I was working for. AAAAAANNNNNDDDDDD, I had nothing lined up. Very not on-brand for me.

At first, it was sweet. My accounts were looking nice because of all the work I was putting in and I even decided to throw myself a big birthday party. I literally spent my entire birthday month OUTSIDE!!! It was definitely giving Houstalantavegas. I deserved it. But then, things changed. Money was leaving my account at a fast rate and it wasn’t being replaced. If you know how regular jobs work, you know that you work, you get paid, you pay bills, you spend a little, you save a little, and then you do it all again every week or two. As for me and my accounts, the “get paid” part was silent. 

Yes, I have different investments and business ventures going on but not at the consistency of a regular job. You can sell a product today and sell nothing for 3 weeks. One month you can bring in $8k and the next month three months, $0. Last year, I grossed almost $100,000 in revenue from everything I had going on whether it was working for someone else or creating my own income. And you know how much I actually kept? Almost none of it. As fast as it came in, was as fast as it left.

I am happy to see that I have been able to create income but the hardest part for me on this journey is not wanting to quit. I love my comfort zone. I found stability in my comfort zone. I made consistent income in my comfort zone. Why not just work a job for $100k a year? I mean, I would only have to sacrifice my time whereas entrepreneurship requires me to sacrifice my time, money, and mental health lol. I could probably write a thesis on the effects inconsistent income has on your mental health. 

But in all seriousness, I just really feel like I am getting beat up because I am constantly on this hustle to make sure money is always coming in. One part of me just wants to call it quits and head back to my (work from home) cubicle (cause whose returning back to an office – not me) but another part of me is like “look how far you’ve already come, why would you quit now, you’re getting better (and richer) with time”. And so it looks as if I need to spend more time in my prayer closet to get some guidance because I am in a weird place.

Nonetheless, I leave you (and me) with this bible verse that has given me some peace while writing this blog (because I started out anxious but I feel a little better now):

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” – Luke 12:48

I know all these talents, gifts, knowledge, wisdom, and time have been given to me for a reason and I don’t ever want to take that for granted. But the weight of this entrepreneurship load is killing me.

How is your entrepreneurship journey going?

Love, 

LOLA THE MANAGER

Note: There will be a part two to this blog because I feel the need to answer the question I know many of you are thinking — why don’t you just get a job. Stay tuned, it’s coming.

mental health

Life After High School: To Stay or To Leave? That Is The Question

Graduating high school is the stepping stone for all the major milestones you will achieve in life. Why? Because school has literally consumed at least 13 years of your life (K-12) and that diploma is equivalent to saying “I am ready to take on the world.”

As discussed in my last Life After High School post, figuring out what to do after high school can be exciting, overwhelming, and sometimes depressing. You just spent the last 13 years of your life raising your hand to ask to go to the restroom and now you are expected to make real-world decisions like who should run our country and where to invest your money.

Today, I want to focus on students/graduates who are debating if they should leave the nest or stay there. The nest being – HOME! Let me preface this with the fact that I left home two weeks after I graduated high school to start my collegiate career. I will try my best to NOT be biased but to share my truth, experience, and suggestions. Also, these reasons are not listed in any particular order.

Reasons to Leave the Nest

(1) It Forces You To Become Responsible

Let’s face it! You have been wanting to be treated as an adult since you were like 13 years old. Now you can be! Gone are the days when your parents are banging on your door to wake you up for school or nagging you about doing your homework. Gone are the days when you have to ask your parents for permission to go to the movies or even money to go to the movies. Gone are the days when you have to check in with your parents if you want to spend the night at your friend’s place. Granted, leaving does not mean your parents will not be there to help you in your transition into responsible adulthood, but know that the training wheels are off.

(2) It Pushes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Unless you grew up in a family that travels for fun or participated in out-of-county / out-of-state field trips with your school, chances are you probably have not left your neighborhood. We are creatures of comfort and habit. You do not know what you can handle and what is out there if you never GO! Life begins at the end of your comfort zone so start living.

(3) It Exposes You To Different People

Have you ever seen the movie Vantage Point? In short, it is a movie about an assassination attempt on a U.S. president and there are witnesses all recounting what they saw from their point of view. Go check it out if you have a chance. It came out my senior year of high school – 2008! But anywho, that movie is how I see people of this world. We all are experiencing life differently, seeing things differently, and even feeling things differently. So I love meeting new people because there is always something to learn. Leaving home exposes you to people who may have lived a life completely opposite of yours or someone who lived a life identical, yet, so different. Go out and meet new people! You might just meet your new best friend.

(4) It Provides You More Privacy

Living at home as a child and living at home as an adult is completely different. TRUST ME!!!! As a child, you probably wanted to stay up late to watch television or go hang out with friends and were given a curfew. As an adult, you DO NOT want that curfew. You want the freedom to do whatever you want without regard to how anyone feels about it. Depending on your relationship with your parents and how they want things in their house, your privacy may be extremely limited.

Now, I know you are reading this like, “these are nice but there are reasons not to leave the nest too.” And I completely agree with that sentiment. Maybe one day I’ll write about that but today, I just want you to consider why environmental change can be good.

Best,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

My Airbnb Hosting Experience

If you have been following me on Instagram, you know that I started hosting on Airbnb Fall 2020 and it has been an interesting ride, to say the least. 

Today’s blog is not about how to start an Airbnb business (that will come one day soon) but to highlight how my experience has been and why I even got into it.

For those that do not know, Airbnb is an online marketplace for short-term and vacation rentals. It has been around since 2008 but my first experience with it (as a guest) was in 2016 when I planned my friend’s surprise 30th birthday trip to Puerto Rico. We stayed in this nice condo/apartment unit that we booked through Airbnb. Aside from that experience, I never thought to host on the platform — not until 2020. 

I found myself interested in rental properties around 2019. When I got to the point where I understood the importance of having multiple streams of income, I saw the benefits of having a rental property. However, the idea seemed so far out of reach especially since I did not have much success purchasing a home in 2018. 

At the start of the pandemic in early 2020, I pressed into my entrepreneurship journey. I started learning about an overwhelming amount of ways to make money and one of those ways was Airbnb. My eyes opened because I never thought of hosting on Airbnb and by that time, I had stayed at my fair share of Airbnbs. 

I started doing extensive research on YouTube and read as many blog articles as I could find. From my research, it looked like it would cost anywhere from $5k – $10k to get a property up and running. I knew I didn’t have that type of capital to invest alone so I reached out to my friend to see if she wanted to partner on this and she did. Let it be known, she was already interested in investing in rental properties so it was an easy sell for her.

The process of finding the right apartment to put on Airbnb was easy because I was already apartment shopping and had a list of my faves so I just selected one of those. The process of getting the apartment was quick but shopping for it took about a week because there were so many moving parts. I was traveling so I wasn’t available to shop much and we were not always on the same page for some purchases. 

Anyways, after we listed the property, we got 3 bookings within the first hour. YES, THE FIRST HOUR!!! I believe Airbnb boosts new listings to get the host excited about their new endeavors. We were getting booked pretty fast and often. But we weren’t getting BOOKED OUT and that was the goal because that was where we would get huge profits. After a year of being on the platform, I can say that I see the benefit in listing a property on Airbnb however, I can’t say that I have seen the insanely high five-figure monthly profits that other hosts say they have. Let it be known, a profit is the remaining balance AFTER expenses are subtracted.

I achieved and maintained Superhost status, I have amazing reviews, the property is beautiful, the experience is great, and so I have been doing research to see what can be done to take the property to the next level to achieve those five-figure monthly profits. 

Instead of jumping into the next investment property, we plan to revamp this property we have together (we have our own individual properties on the platform as well). I am thinking we can add some accent walls and themed decor as well as listing the property on other platforms to see if that helps with increasing bookings during the week because we are always booked on the weekends. 

FUN FACT: I did try renting out my basement and it was good until it was bad. I was already apprehensive about having strangers in my home — even though we do not interact with each other — but that one set of guests (see my Instagram highlights for the story) was the icing on the cake and I refuse to ever rent out my basement again. I won’t even rent out a guest house. If I live on the property, I will not be listing it on Airbnb. For those, I would have a tenant that helps me house hack (which is what I am doing now). 

Would I recommend you list a property on Airbnb? 

YES!!! But only if you’re ready to be in the hospitality and management industry because truth be told, Airbnb has NOTHING to do with real estate and EVERYTHING to do with customer service. You have to create an experience for your guests so they can brag about it (in their reviews) and in turn, attract more guests (with those same reviews). There are systems you need in place to ensure your guest feels like the most important person on the planet. This is what separates your Airbnb from the next. You have to ask yourself “what type of experience do you want to give your guest” and then create an experience even BIGGER than that. It takes a lot of leg work in the beginning but once it gets going, it is sweet.

If you want to know more about my Airbnb hosting experience, I advise you to watch the “stories” and “highlights” on my Instagram page.

And if you ever need an Airbnb in Atlanta, check out my Buckhead property.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

entrepreneurship

Don’t Mix Family And Business

I don’t know where the idea of not mixing family and business came from but it needs to die. And to be honest, it makes no sense! I really don’t like making things a race/culture thing but I have noticed that in the black community specifically, this concept is the norm. If a family member comes to you to partner in a business venture, you have to reject it because you know “you can’t do business with family”.

As a history enthusiast, and I use that phrase loosely lol, I noticed that if we go as far back as the “biblical days”, family and business have always been one and the same. Think about it. Back then, agriculture was not only necessary for the family to survive (farming is how families got food to eat) but it was how they made money (sold food for profit). That sounds like one hell of a family business to me.

If you don’t want to go that far back, let us take a look around us to see how many FAMILIES are doing business together.

Exhibit A – Ford Motor Company

Ford was founded by Henry Ford in 1903 and is the second-largest auto manufacturer in the United States and fifth-largest in the world. His family still owns a 40% stake in the company and is actively involved in the business. His great-grandson William Clay Ford Jr. serves as executive chairman, his great-great-granddaughter Elena Ford is the chief customer experience officer, and his great-grandson Edsel B. Ford II serves on the board of directors.

Exhibit B – Aldi

Aldi was founded by brothers Theo and Karl Albrecht in 1946. It grew into a global supermarket chain that acquired Trader Joe’s in 1979. Yea, I bet you didn’t know that. When Theo died in 2010, his sons Theo Jr. and Berthold inherited the family business and the family still owns 100% of the business today.

Exhibit C – Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A was founded by S. Truett Cathy in 1946 and is the third-largest fast-food chain in the United States. The company has remained in the family’s control and as of today, S. Truett’s sons Dan and Donald Cathy serve as the CEO and executive vice president of Chick-fil-A.

Exhibit D – Walmart

Walmart was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and when he died in 1992, he left 50% of the company’s equity to his wife and children. His family manages these shares and many of his family members have worked at the company or served on the board of directors. As of today, Sam’s son and grandson Jim and Steuart Walton serve on the board of directors.

Doesn’t that just inspire you to build your own family dynasty? Like, reading about major corporations like these that are still fruitful because they kept it all in the family motivates me to keep being great. Like, they were really out here building generational wealth and that is my life goal. I would love to put my family in a position to be that powerful. When I look at my peers of other ethnicities and cultures, I see that they, in fact, keep it all in the family. It’s always family business.

Now I will confess that I have not started any business ventures with family but I have received support from family members in my business ventures and I have supported the family in their ventures. Maybe one day I can hire my family to work with me in the great things that I have cooked up — like my 360 photo booth business. I need some people to operate these booths at events since I can’t be everywhere at once so why not hire my own family — if they want to of course.

Moving forward, instead of rejecting the idea of doing business with family, let us try to get to the root of that. Is it because there is a lack of trust? If so, why is that? Are we projecting our insecurities on other family members so doing business together wouldn’t work? Whatever it is, let us work through that so we can get to the real goal — generational wealth. I mean, c’mon now, you literally can’t build generational wealth without family. What are your thoughts?

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

My First Project Manager Job

I know people see the word Project Manager and get excited but I honestly didn’t know what that was until one of my tech friends brought it up to me earlier this year.

For those that do not know, a Project Manager is equivalent to a Movie Director. The director takes the script and creates this vision for how it will look on film. The director is also responsible for managing all different aspects of the film like making sure the actors and crew are doing what they need to do to execute the vision. And that last sentence is EXACTLY what a project manager does — make sure everyone is doing what they need to do to execute the vision.

Now that we got that out the way. Let’s talk about how I got my first project manager job. So you guys know that I have been a teacher for the last 5 years and I have an interest in a variety of things — web design, social media, vlogging, blogging, and the like. Well, one of my dearest friends has been pushing me to get more involved in tech because in her exact words “that’s where the money at.” She works in Cybersecurity making well into six figures and just completed her first semester as a Cybersecurity professor at a community college in South Florida. So yes, she is DEFINITELY where the money at.

She started telling me that with my experience and skills, I could probably get into the tech field as a project manager. She started to give me some insight on what the different project managers she has been able to work with have done and then encouraged me to do some research. And I did just that.

So I revamped my resume to make it more “tech-friendly” by using industry language and highlighting all the things I don’t share within my usual teacher resume. That consisted of me going on LinkedIn and looking up people who are currently working as project managers and working in the tech field to see what they are doing so I can pull from there. Funny enough, I did all that and still didn’t apply for any project manager jobs.

Until May 2021. One of the assistant principals at the school I was working at sent out a mass email with a job opening for this STEM program based in California. The position that was being promoted was for a summer “Entrepreneurship” instructor. I figured, since I was currently teaching Economics and introducing my students to entrepreneurship, this could be the perfect transition out of the classroom as I figure out the next moves in my life.

So I re-edited my resume to make it more “Educator” focused and I applied for the position. When I finished applying, I looked to see what other openings they had and one of them was for a Project Manager. I read the job description and was like, I can actually do this. So I applied with my “Project Manager” resume and received an email THE SAME DAY to schedule an interview. Like, how the position I applied to second hit me up first lol. 

I interviewed with one of the sweetest people ever and was invited to attend a group interview. Please note, all of these interviews AND the position is remote/virtual. I joined the group interview and it was like speed dating. We were asked questions individually and in groups and then we were broken up into breakout rooms to work together and then come back to the main room to present. It was just happening so fast and within a second, it was over.

A week after the interview, I received this email.

I was bummed out because I felt like it would have been a great stepping stone into the industry while still being in education. Now that I was officially done teaching, I told myself that I am going to remove distractions from my life so I can focus on my entrepreneurship journey and figure out how to bring in some money. So I removed myself from social media, put my energy into moving into my new home, and then took it one day at a time.

Then three weeks later, I got an email. 

Yall, I started dancing, screaming, and was in utter shock. I felt like I was told I won a Grammy. What really had me shook was the pay. We were set to get paid weekly and one week’s paycheck would be equivalent to almost two of my teaching paychecks and I got paid twice a month. If you’re a numbers person, I would be getting paid $2k a week ($8k/month) and my teacher salary was $1,700 every two weeks ($3,400/month). I don’t know how much you guys are getting paid but this was LOVELY to me. Like, I was about to get paid more to do less. I think I could live like this.

Anyways, I accepted the offer and the complete contract was for 6 weeks. The first week was staff training. The second week was intern training. The remaining four weeks were the actual project my team of interns had to tackle. In short, we were tasked with creating data visualization boards for a biotech company. In training, we learned about Miro (a digital collaboration platform) and Figma (a collaborative interface design tool). However, when it was time to build the data visualization boards, we realized we would need to use a different design tool so that was another hurdle we had to tackle but we did the damn thing.

I’m not going to lie to you and make it seem like this experience was a breeze. I was overwhelmed starting day one. Everything was moving so fast. There was language being used that I did not understand. And then there was a curriculum — The Design Sprint — that I needed to learn because that was the process my team had to use to execute this project. It just felt like so much was being thrown at me and I just needed to figure it out on my own. I felt like quitting WEEK ONE!! And if you know anything about me, I will leave a job if it is not what I thought it was going to be. 

But I pushed through and I am happy I did. All I remember is my supervisor — the person who sent me those emails — telling me “just breathe and create the experience you feel your interns need to be successful”. Once she said that a lightbulb clicked and I went into my groove. I started creating daily and weekly schedules that outlined everything our team needed for success. All i’s were dotted and all t’s were crossed. So much so, take a look at my performance evaluation.

My supervisor told me that she has never given anyone a perfect score on an evaluation. She told me her management team was not sure if I would do well in this type of project manager position because my teaching background may push me to teach the interns instead of coach the interns. I’m happy to say I exceeded their expectations and I am happy my supervisor took that risk in bringing me on board. 

If there is any advice I can give to someone interested in getting in project manager, I would say this:

  • Ask questions for clarity and repeat what was clarified
    • Seems like a lot but that helps you make sure you understand what is asked of you 
  • Organize the calendar/schedule
    • There are so many moving parts in working on a project and schedule management is essential so everyone can be on the same page
  • Be Flexible
    • Things happen and you need to adjust accordingly
  • Cover Your Ass in emails
    • Emails are receipts and if it wasn’t in an email, the transaction/interaction never happened
  • Take notes in meeting (and record them if you can)
    • We’re human! We forget even when we know. 

And that ladies and gentlemen, was my first project manager job experience. I still plan to do more project manager contracts. I have been actively looking for them but no luck – yet. If you’re a project manager, how has your experience been? 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

My Experience Selling On Teachers Pay Teachers

Just about every teacher knows about Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) but if you don’t, it is an online marketplace for teachers to buy and sell original educational material. My introduction to TPT was in 2015 during my first year teaching. I learned really quickly to work smarter by utilizing already created material instead of making new material.

TPT made my first year as a teacher a breeze. Since I was teaching 2nd grade, I taught multiple subjects — Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies. I would look at the district’s pacing guide each week to see what we should be working on and look for it on TPT. When I tell you every single lesson I needed was on that platform, EVERY SINGLE ONE!

Unfortunately, when I moved on to teaching middle and high school, there were not as many, if any, lesson plans available on TPT for me to use so now I had to start working harder. I was literally making lesson plans and resources every week. With the pandemic forcing schools to go virtual, TPT started to gain more traction because people needed digital resources. 

During the 2020-2021 school year, I had the pleasure of teaching 12th-grade Economics virtually and of course, TPT had nothing for me to work with. The beauty of teaching high school Economics is that it is a half-credit course compared to something like Algebra that is a whole credit. To put this into perspective, a student taking Economics is typically taking it for half a school year (Fall or Spring) whereas a student taking Algebra is taking it for an entire school year (Fall and Spring). 

As the teacher, that means I am teaching one set of students in the Fall and another set of students in the Spring. So in order to make my year smooth, I had to create instructional videos and digital resources for my students during the Fall and then reuse that same content in the Spring. This was definitely the easiest school year I have ever had.

Fast forward to the end of 2020, I was thinking of ways to make money that did not require me to create something new or invest money. I saw people promoting digital courses and I remembered that I literally just created a digital Economics course that I can put on TPT. So I listed my course there.

I got my first sale on 10/15/2020 and that was the only sale in 2020. I will say that I didn’t post all the resources at the time. I was testing the water so I just posted 1 part (unit 1) of the course. Then Spring 2021 came around and I posted another part of the course (unit 2). That led to two sales in March 2021. I was done teaching by the end of April so I posted the rest of the course online and sales picked up in the summer right before the new school year but not much. 

In short, I have not seen much fruit on here and I don’t know if that’s because the quality of the content isn’t great or there isn’t much of a market for it but I will definitely keep my products there. I have no intentions of creating anything new to add on there but I will continue to monitor how things go.

So if you’re an Economics teacher OR you’re studying Economics for a class, I highly recommend you check out my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

2021 Year in Review

I am a big advocate of reflecting on your past experiences. I feel like we often ask for things and never get the opportunity to actually enjoy them because once we get them, we are focused on trying to get the next thing. This is one of the reasons why I share so much about my entrepreneurship journey because I feel like the journey is more important than the destination. The journey is where you grow so the destination means nothing without that experience. With that said, let’s take a look at my 2021 year in review.

January

February

  • Took a girls trip to Cancun, Mexico and took my first ever COVID test in Mexico

April

May

  • FINALLY experienced a good wax specialist in Atlanta
  • Completed my 1st year teaching in Atlanta and gifted myself a new MacBook Air
  • Started selling my lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers

June

  • Moved into my new home
  • Upgraded my vlogging equipment
  • Started my 1st project manager contract with a biotech company

July

  • Made my way back to the personal trainer for the next 3 months (not including my birthday month)
  • Completed my 1st project manager contract with a biotech company
  • Completed a brand photo shoot

August

September

October 

November 

  • Worked my first event with the 360 photo booth
  • Completed my 1st year as an AirBNB Superhost / Property Manager

December

  • Planned for 2022

It looks as if I had a busy year and I’m not going to lie to you guys, it was exhausting. I was tired. I am tired. So in 2022, I want a smooth, relaxing, and fruitful year. I spent a lot of time trying to make money and now I want to focus on making the money flow — like a stream. I feel like I can’t say I have streams of income since they are not flowing. 

Thank you for rocking with me in 2021 and I am excited for what is in store for 2022. Let’s get to it.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

Why I Became An Entrepreneur

It should go without saying but I don’t ever want to assume. I did not always have this entrepreneur mindset. I know you see my journey and it looks as if entrepreneurship was embedded in me from childhood — IT WASN’T!! I was a teacher and graduate student with hopes of just making ends meet. Nothing too “crazy”. However, I was never truly happy with the cards I had and was always shuffling (changing jobs, careers, ideas).

In 2018, I attempted to purchase my first home in South Florida and was approved for a whopping $75,000. I was shocked! At the time, I was making about $45,000/year with a $500 car note, no credit cards, and over $70k in student loans. If you know anything about South Florida, you can’t even buy a shack in Miami for that price so I was hurt. I looked high and low and could not find anything within that price frame so my home ownership dreams were cut short. If I had the mindset I have now, I would’ve bought something in another city or state and used that as an investment property to eventually get what I really wanted.

In the summer of 2019, my Florida teaching certificate expired and I was jobless. Being jobless is not something I worried about because (1) I had a few months’ expenses saved and (2) I always have a job so I figured it was something temporary. 

Before I knew it, six months went by. All my savings were gone, all my credit cards were maxed out, I had absolutely no money coming in, I was sinking into a deep depression, I was fighting to finish my master’s program, and I still could not get a job. Yall, it was sad. I was sad.

Then an opportunity came about for me to get a job with a significant pay cut at the end of the year and my mind started racing. My thought was, you did everything that society told you to do. You went to college, you got basic jobs, you saved, and you still got the short end of the stick. At that point, I knew that I needed multiple streams of income. It didn’t matter how much I had saved because there was nothing coming in to replace it when it was used. 

That is how LOLA MGMT was born. The first business I launched under that name was a social media management and virtual assistant business in summer 2019. However, because I was so stressed and depressed with everything that was going on in my life, I didn’t give it the energy and mindset it needed to flourish until the beginning of 2020. At that point, I made the executive decision to no longer save and invest all the money I make.

I know what you are thinking — NO SAVINGS!!! Yes, no savings but you have to understand where I was coming from. I had the whole 3-6 months’ expenses saved and it wasn’t enough to keep me afloat. Now that I was making less money and didn’t even have much to save, I figured I would just invest it in business.

It started with me investing in a business coach. I think I spent about $2,000 on a business coach and though it sounds like a lot of money, I was determined to NEVER have another year like 2019 ever again. I made bi-weekly payments for that coaching and I didn’t really like it. I learned really quickly that her coaching style didn’t match my learning style AND business needs but I appreciate the experience because I learned a few things. The biggest takeaway was learning how not to be afraid to make big investments in me. 

And since then, I have done some amazing things. None of the things I have done has completely and consistently replaced my teaching salary but the fact that it has even generated any money is what keeps me going. To see an idea come to life AND make money is mindblowing to me. I have learned so much on this journey from how to take risks, not being afraid to look and sound silly/crazy, building a team, separating finances, bookkeeping, like so much. 

I still don’t know if I have found the thing that makes me excited to wake up in the morning that I am willing to do for free. However, I will say that being the boss is something I love and I am excited to see what else is in store. As always, thank you for joining me on this journey and I leave you with this inspirational video.

Until Next Time, 

LOLA THE MANAGER

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Things Living Alone Has Taught Me

I can’t lie to you, living alone has been …. an experience.

If you know me personally, you know that I thoroughly enjoy being alone. I am the friend that asks “who all over there” when I get invited somewhere. I am the daughter that is most likely in her room reading, playing video games, doing a puzzle, or thinking of a master plan. I am the girlfriend that is not out with her friends’ majority of the time because she would rather stay home and sleep. I am the person that will take myself on dates and often sit at the bar in a new city. 

As the only girl in the house with my parents and brothers, I learned early how to be my own friend. Don’t get me wrong, I loved hanging out with my brothers but I loved hanging out with myself even more. It allowed me to be comfortable with myself. Being an only girl feels like being an only child because though you have male siblings, there are some things they just don’t understand so you learn how to be independent. 

There was no one to explore fashion, hair, and beauty with so I did it all myself. There was no one to gossip about boys with, stay up late with, and share a room with. I was a loner and I never saw that as a bad thing. However, now that I live alone — in a city and state 651 miles away from my family — it takes some getting used to. 

One of the biggest things I had to get used to was complete silence. I love silence. I am not a fan of unnecessary noise even if people are in the room. For instance, when I used to live with my parents, my mom would see me in the living room watching TV and she would come to sit next to me and talk on the phone or watch videos on her phone with the volume on 1000x. WHY??!! Why would you do that right next to me?

Now that I have an unlimited amount of silence, I sometimes — not always — miss that sound of someone else in the house. When you live alone, every sound you hear makes your heart skip a beat because you know that you are the only one here so what are you hearing? 

The next thing I realized is how now I have to take an active role in my safety. Believe it or not, I never really thought that something could happen to me and no one would know. When I lived back home with my parents, I would go on a 3-mile run every day in the dark. If something happened to me, they would know because they always saw me when I left and knew about how long it would take. I didn’t have to tell my parents what I was doing or where I went but I did because I never knew what could happen when I left the house. Now that I stay alone, there is no one to talk to when I leave the house. 

On top of that, I try my absolute best to not go out at night and I am more vigilant everywhere I go. I feel like I read more articles about women being kidnapped and killed so I take extra precautions. When I leave an event or store, I do not go directly home afterward to make sure I was not followed. Before I get in my car, I walk around it to check the tires and to see if anyone is in the car. I try to park my car away from other cars in a parking lot. I typically go to stores AS SOON AS they open because that is typically when the stores and parking lots are less busy. I don’t even think I shop on the weekends. I do everything during the week, early in the morning. 

Now I am preparing to take self-defense lessons and learn how to properly use a gun so I can build my collection. Sometimes I feel like I am doing the most but then I remember that I am alone here and no one cares about me more than me. I have to do whatever I feel is necessary to protect myself.

Aside from safety, I realized that the more that I am alone, the more I like being alone even though I desire companionship. When you stay by yourself, you start to build a routine and it is not easy to invite someone into that space. Remember, I don’t even like unnecessary noise so just having a guest over can bother me. That is why I do not invite people to my house. In the year and a half that I have lived here, I can count on one hand how many people I have had over. And as the friend that loves to host gatherings, my perspective has changed. I love to bring people together but as an overthinker, I cannot bring myself to have people over.

Lastly, living alone has shown me the importance of discipline and integrity. Back home with my parents, my mom would do certain things for me like cook every day, and would remind me to do certain things like buy groceries. But now, I have to do all that on my own and if I don’t do it, it will not get done. There is no one coming to save the day. So I have to push myself to be productive and tackle my to-do lists. It is what you do when you are alone that exposes who you are. 

I share all of this not to deter you from pursuing your independence but just to show what I have learned during my experience. Let’s see what else I learn on this journey.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

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How To Start A Brand Ambassador Program

Brand Ambassadors cost money and if you don’t have the right setup, you will be wasting money without realizing it. Keep Reading!

A Brand Ambassador is someone who is paid (through a stipend, commission, or product/service) to represent your company/brand. Small Businesses like yours can benefit from having ambassadors because it allows you to reach a wider audience — especially online — and increase sales! However, where a lot of business owners miss the mark is when they don’t have a system in place.

Whether you pay your ambassador via stipend, commission, or product/service, you need to have a plan in place to make that money back at least twice.

Example: You sell clothes. You have a friend that’s a fashion blogger with a thriving following on Instagram. They agree to partner with you. You give them FREE products to wear (worth $150) and post about on their Instagram. No one visits your site. You lost money.

Now there are so many variables to that example I just gave but many small businesses have experienced something similar because (1) there was no real marketing strategy & budget set up and (2) there was no ambassador program system in place.

So here are some things I believe you need to start a brand ambassador program. Take Notes!

The first thing is to create a list of what your ideal customer looks like. This is the person that would be your ambassador. What do they like and dislike? How do they carry themselves? What type of person do you want to represent your brand? You don’t want to ask random people on social media that don’t align with your brand because they just want to milk you dry. Also, one thing to note — large following doesn’t always mean guaranteed sales. 

The next thing is to create your program incentives. As a small business, you may not be able to pay the person a hearty stipend but you can allow them to make money through commission. HOW?

Give them a discount code to promote when they share your product. At the end of each week or each month, they receive a percentage of every sale that came in using that specific code. This pushes the ambassador to put in a little more effort in promoting the product because they benefit from the sale. It’s a win-win for everyone.

After that, you create a set of program policies and put it in a nice little contract. You need to tell the ambassadors EXACTLY what they need to do as well as when, where, and how they need to do it. Explain payment. Explain the program timeframe. Explain early termination. ALLADATSHXT!!! That contract is going to separate the moochers from those that are truly interested in the partnership and willing to do the work it requires to maintain that partnership.

EXAMPLE

  • Program Timeframe – 3 months 
  • Salary – 5% Commission per sale w/ code BA2021 
  • Instagram Promo – 2 posts per week (one on feed, one on story), tag @lolathemanager in each post and caption, use hashtag #LolaAmbassador2021 in each post, posts on feed must stay there permanently for the duration of program
  • Promotional Material – 1 FREE item of your choice will be shipped free of charge at start of the program, if no sales equal to or greater than the cost of the free item is generated, no other product will be sent out.

Another incentive is giving the brand ambassador a discount code to use for when they want to make their own purchases from you.

If you gave them a 5% off code to use for promotional purposes, give them a 10% off code for personal use. And no, they would not promo the personal code because that decreases their commission. Also, you can put that they can’t do that in a contract.

Then you want to create an application or way for people to show interest in your program. For example, you can create a Google Form where prospects provide their name, contact information, social media details, and answer the “why do you want to be a brand ambassador for our company”. Have a deadline for people to apply, look through all the applications, and then select the ones you believe will be the best fit for your company.

And lastly, advertise that you are looking for brand ambassadors via social media or newsletters (if you do email marketing). You may be tempted to just share the big news with your friends and family in hopes that one of them applies but remember what I said earlier about your ideal customer. That person may be a stranger and that is okay.

The ultimate goal for your brand ambassador program is to build relationships and increase sales. Your ambassador can potentially get your product in front of someone who wants to collaborate with you in the future, that is why building relationships is important. These ambassadors will put your name in rooms that you are not even in. 

One thing I would say to add the cherry on top would be to offer a “Thank You” gift at the end of the program. Creators often don’t feel celebrated and appreciated so to send an unsolicited Thank You will end things on a good note and like I stated earlier, you never know who they’ll talk to.

I hope this has helped you figure out how to start your own brand ambassador program. Remember, it does not have to be perfect. You’ll learn as you go. This is just a starting guide. Let me know how it goes. I am rooting for you. 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER