entrepreneurship

Why You Should Share Your Price List

So the topic of transparency in pricing was the subject of EntrepreneurGram a few weeks ago and now that Al Gore’s internet has had some time to breathe, I want to share my take on it. 

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I remember when I started my entrepreneurship journey back in 2019 with no blueprint and simply gleaning from the so-called gurus on social media. I saw that everyone, or what felt like everyone, who was providing the same services as I did never put their price out there. You had to set up a meeting to share your vision and they will create a price specifically for you. It really bothered me because as a consumer, comparing price lists is how I determine who I can work with.

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For instance, for my birthday party last year, I was trying to find a caterer and I appreciated everyone that had their rates available so I could compare accordingly. I do not like wasting my time so I would rather go on your website and see that this is not a relationship we can have right now than set up a meeting only to find out within the first few minutes that you’re out of my league. And as a business owner, you just wasted your time too.

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And why is that? Why are business owners hiding their price list? I understand you want to get that lead magnet but it’s a useless lead if you are truly not in their budget. My catering budget was $2,000. My party was an upscale lounge vibe so I wanted cocktail hour food – small plates that could fill you up paired with my open bar. So I knew going in that my budget was firm regardless of who provided the service. It was always the ones that did not have a price list that gave me a hard time because they either wanted me to increase my budget or cut back on what I wanted.

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As a business consultant, I feel like it is my duty to let you know that you need to be open with your pricing. Whether you shop at Forever 21 or Neiman Marcus, the price for their products are listed. Now, I know what you’re thinking “my price depends on what they get” and I feel you. I get that. But you should have a minimum price that you are willing to work with and that should be listed. 

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I was working with a client that designs custom evening gowns and when we walked through her customer experience, I had to explain to her that one of the reasons she is not getting the money she wants is because she’s not upfront about her price list. If I want a custom gown and don’t know how much they cost, I probably don’t have a budget in mind. I am willing to set up a consultation with you so I can get some understanding but when we have that meeting and you tell me the gown is going to cost me $800, I am running out the door because my brain cannot process that. I was not ready. 

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However, if you as a designer know that for the basic of basic gowns and labor, your starting rate is $600, now every prospective client that reaches out knows that they need a minimum of $600 to work with you. Both of you benefit from this situation because you are getting the client and the money you desire while they get the gown of their dreams.

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I see way too often business owners that get so excited they finally get a lead that they settle for the short end of the stick. And the reason for this is your lack of systems, procedures, and a solid price list. You should know the base price of what you would charge for all of your services not only so you can justify why you are charging the price you charge but so you can assess how your business is operating. 

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Personally, my favorite people to get serviced by are hairstylists, nail technicians, and make-up artists. Every time I book one, I love looking at their price list because NOTHING catches you by surprise. Everything has a base price and add-on fees. The final price is not the problem for the customer; the problem is when they have to guess what the final price will be because they don’t have anything to work with. 

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Lastly, a friend and I were talking about this and realized many business owners do not know what part of the customer’s journey they want to be part of. If you are a product photographer and you want to work with new business owners, your rates will not be the same if you were interested in working with established businesses that are not new to professional product photography. The latter is willing to pay top dollar because they understand the importance of professional photos and how that can convert to sales. 

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I say all that to say, if you are not someone that is transparent with their price list and/or their base price, I highly recommend you revisit that concept and see how that changes your business clientele and structure. Then come back here and let me know how it went. 

I’ll be doing another write-up with the benefits of sharing your price list but in the meantime, start thinking of your base.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship

My First 6 Months on ETSY

It has officially been a little over 6 months since I have set up my Etsy Shop and I can’t lie, things are going pretty good. But as always, let me walk you through the details of how it all started.

I recently launched a 360 photo booth business in Atlanta and South Florida called Luxury Lens 360. Even though I can design fliers, I had so much on my plate that I decided to just go on Etsy and purchase some ready-made fliers. The only problem was, that there weren’t many fliers to choose from. To give you a reference, if you look up “birthday party flyer” on Etsy, about 3,400 results pop up whereas if you look up “360 photo booth flyer”, about 300 results pop up. 

Now you should know I am not scrolling through all those pages looking at fliers but the first two pages were not giving what they were supposed to gave so I had to make my own fliers. After I made them, I thought “I should probably put these on Etsy since there aren’t many options” but I was hesitant because I felt like it was going to be too much work. Typical Lola would overthink to the point that I would say “forget it” and put the idea on the backburner but Hustler Lola was like “its money to be made.”

I did absolutely no research! NONE! ZIP! And that is NOT like me. I like to make sure the numbers make sense and that I understand how everything works but in this instance, my rationale was “you already made it to use for yourself FOR FREE so the worst thing that can happen is no one wants to use it”. 

So I listed my first flyer on October 24, 2021 and got my first sale on October 28, 2021. Then my next two orders came in 3 days later and as of today, I average 3-5 sales per day. When I tell you I was surprised, I was shook because I just couldn’t believe the things I created for myself had actual value to someone else. 

Etsy recommends that you have at least 10 listings (items for sale) on your site. As of the date that this blog is published, I have 10 listings and they all fall in the 360 Photo Booth Flier. The fliers are actually templates that people can edit using Canva (graphic design tool). So my fliers are not made-to-order which makes this type of business venture pretty passive because once I create the templates, there is nothing else required of me.

I do want to point out that till this day, I still do not completely understand how Etsy sales and profit work. This is new territory for me so I am learning as I go. I just know that I set up daily payouts and every other day, there is money deposited in my bank account. I will say that I have been spending the last 30 days actually analyzing trends and keywords, I have been optimizing my listings so they are more searchable, and have been paying close attention to my shop traffic and conversions.

I plan on creating more things to put on the platform because even though my shop is booming, it is not to my standard. I don’t know if that’s because I am pricing my templates too low or if I need more items in the shop but that is what my focus is today. How do I make my store better?

I hope this encourages you to try using Etsy. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t make a sale that you wouldn’t have made anyways if you didn’t open the shop. 

But for those of you that do have an Etsy shop, what do you sell? How is business going for you? Talk to me! 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

entrepreneurship, mental health

Balancing Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

You know what they don’t tell you about entrepreneurship — the hardest part is managing your mental health.

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And yes, I just dived right into the deep end because there’s no reason to sugarcoat it. The entrepreneurship journey is hard AF! I don’t care how social media makes it seem, it is difficult. And honestly, it’s not even the business part that’s difficult, it’s the mental discipline you need to keep going.

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If you are new to entrepreneurship — meaning you don’t have any family and/or friends you’ve witnessed firsthand do this successfully — you are literally starting from ground zero. No one tells you how difficult it is to start from that point. I see why the data shows that 20% of new businesses fail within their first year and 50% won’t even make it to their five-year mark. That means if you and I start a business today, in 5 years, one of our businesses will fail if it didn’t fail within the first. 

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Starting from zero requires you to literally build everything up brick by brick – INCLUDING YOUR MENTAL and that’s extremely difficult when you do not have a blueprint. I wish my parents already had a business in motion where all I needed to do was pick up where they left off. Unfortunately, that’s not how this story goes. 

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What makes it even harder is, that when your peers are not entrepreneurs, they don’t really know how to support you mentally. Even their words of encouragement sound like bombs over Baghdad. “It’ll get better” “You’re going to be just fine” “This is just the beginning”. I know they mean well and I understand the need to see the big picture but I currently live in the present where everything is overwhelming. There are so many moving parts on this journey and getting a hold of your mental health is essential for survival. 

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For all those that are trying to figure out how to get a grip, I challenge you to (1) revisit your why and (2) intentionally do things that help calm your mind. There was a reason you started this journey and if that reason means anything to you, it will always keep you focused on the big picture. In regards to doing things that calm your mind, I know from personal experience that anxiety takes center stage when too many things are trying to make themselves a priority. It starts to feel like there is always so much to do, always so little time, and never enough manpower. So I like doing things that calm my mind and keep me in the present. For me, those things look like working out, going for a walk, a bike ride, a run or a swim, doing puzzles, journaling my thoughts and prayers, and setting up a time to do absolutely nothing. 

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It is perfectly fine to want to quit but it is not okay to not put the effort into trying to take care of yourself. I live by the motto “if you are not at 100%, nothing you do will be at 100%.” So when you get a hold of your mental, you realize that anything is possible and then you can give this journey the energy you need. 

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I will be doing another post about ways you can manage your time to prevent being overwhelmed but in the meantime, let’s focus on learning how to breathe and building our mental discipline.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

entrepreneurship

Using Groupon To Market My Business

It takes money to make money.

So when I started my 360 Photo Booth business, I was trying to come up with different ways to market it. I knew that I would set up a Google My Business profile as well as position us on Instagram & Facebook to appeal to millennials – our target audience. I was not interested in investing my own money into the business so I needed to come up with a way to get “free” advertising.

I know what you’re thinking “where can you get free advertising”. When I say “FREE”, I mean not having to pay upfront costs. If you have an Etsy shop like I do, you are charged AFTER a customer makes a purchase. The platform takes their fees for “promoting your product” before they release the profit. And now, I found out that Groupon offers something similar.

Let me preface this with the fact that I am an avid Groupon customer. I use the app at least once a week looking for deals in Miami and Atlanta since I pretty much live in both cities. And then one day while I was scrolling, I saw my friend’s business ad on there. He is a personal trainer based in South Florida and he was offering his services at a discounted rate. 

I immediately started searching for 360 Photo Booth services on Groupon in the South Florida and Atlanta areas. I couldn’t find any and the lightbulb went off — this is a good market.

I created a Groupon Merchant (business account), started watching YouTube videos on people’s experience using Groupon Merchant, and created my first campaign. In maybe a day or two after I created the campaign (it has to get approved by Groupon before going live), I received an email telling me that the campaign was rejected. I shrugged and assumed that’s the reason why there were no 360 photo booths on the platform — they were all getting rejected. 

And then maybe a month later, I received a call from someone that worked for Groupon saying they saw I attempted to make a campaign and wanted to know if I was still interested in partnering with them. He told me how Groupon is always looking for new and innovative things to offer and they liked my 360 Photo Booth business. He told me that there’s a certain way to manually work the system and his specific job at Groupon is to find those unique businesses, revamp their campaigns, and get them approved. 

After the call, we went back and forth via email trying to set up the perfect campaign. Groupon has 20+ million active users on its platform and they provide businesses all the marketing they need. However, it comes at a cost. You have to list your product at an appealing sale price and then when you make a sale, Groupon wants 50% of that sale.

For example, let’s say your business offers jet skis. Your regular rate to rent out a jet ski for 30 minutes is $100. You list this service on Groupon at a discounted rate of $60 (40% OFF). This discounted rate is the price a customer will pay at checkout. After the purchase, Groupon will take $30 and give you $30. 

Now, before you fight me, let’s continue to look at that example. Depending on your business overhead (costs of operation), that $30 profit may be a loss. If gas for the jet ski is $10, you have to subtract that from the revenue so your true profit is $20. Other overhead costs may be a dock rental fee, lifeguard salary, and more which can have you seeing more negative than positive. In the context of my current business model, it’s a win because we just want to build exposure and profit enough to pay the employees that have to work these events. We do not use Groupon to pay for our overhead.

We started our campaign in early December and have consistently sold at least 2 vouchers per month from January to March 2022. The cool thing about this is, we are able to make more money by upselling additional items since our campaign is bare bones. On our account, we only offer standard 360 Photo Booth services for 3 hours, 5 hours, and 8 hours. All of our customers so far have purchased the 3-hour voucher and when we schedule the event, they almost always want an additional hour (more $$), themed props (more $$), and custom overlay/geofilter (more $$).

For those that do not know what upselling is, it’s when you offer additional services and/or products during a sale. You probably have experienced this while being a customer at your local fast-food restaurant. You order a taco and nachos and the cashier asks “would you like to add a drink with that”. That is upselling. So there are products and services included in our regular rates that we do not offer Groupon customers. We can’t just let you off that easily.

Another benefit of using Groupon to market my 360 Photo Booth business is being able to easily get reviews that you can then use on your company site or social media and it helps your business establish credibility. Just because something is listed on Groupon, doesn’t mean you should give your money to it. Remember, I am an avid Groupon customer so I look at reviews and I leave them. Shoot – I look at and leave Google Reviews. The reviews show that not only is your business legit but it provides good or bad services and products. I will admit, due to poor planning and lack of staffing on our part, we had to cancel our attendance at an event last minute which caused us to get 1 poor review but that won’t stop our show.

All in all, we have seen success in Groupon. The campaign reach and conversion rate has been pretty high for the first 90 days (the partnership is 4 months long with an option to renew) and I just know it will continue to grow. I will say, we do not promote our Groupon listing on our social media or even word of mouth because we don’t want everyone booking through the platform. Like seriously, we have money to make. So we have a limited number of vouchers that can be purchased on Groupon and still promote our regular rates via other online platforms.

I hope this was able to give you insight on potentially using Groupon to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your business. I don’t have all the answers but I thoroughly enjoy sharing my entrepreneurship journey so you can see what it’s like in real-time. 

For those of you interested in starting a 360 Photo Booth business or already started but not getting booked, let’s hop on a call to discuss what’s going on. As always, I love helping people level up in their entrepreneurship journey.

Until Next Time,

LOLATHEMANAGER

Uncategorized

Now Hiring: Luxury Lens 360

Never thought I would see the day when I would be hiring people to work for my business. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. Let’s talk about how I got here.

If you’re an avid follower, you know that I am an advocate for having multiple streams of income. I launched my 360 Photo Booth Business in the South Florida and Atlanta areas back in 2021. Things have been going pretty good since. Actually, it has been so good that now we have more events than we do manpower. Like, we had to cancel an event last minute because we did not have someone to work it.

Anywho, we are looking for people to operate our photo booths at different events in South Florida and Atlanta – ESPECIALLY ATLANTA!! Since South Florida is my hometown, it is easier to get the word out that I am looking to hire because there is always a friend of a friend or a friend of a family member, or even a former student looking for work. However, since I really haven’t sowed enough seeds in Atlanta, my reach is limited.

So I am asking for your help to get the word out there. Share this with everyone you know and post it to your social media. We are trying to build a solid team of quality people in both states so we can continue serving the community.

For A Complete Job Description And To Apply, Click Here.

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

LOLATHEMANAGER

Uncategorized

Separating Ownership From Management

I have been on my entrepreneurship journey for almost 3 years now and I learn new things about myself every day. 

I have always been a “hard worker”. For the sake of this blog and my need to always provide context, we’ll define a hard worker as someone that puts in more than what is required when completing a task.

When my parents would ask me to clean my room, I’d not only clean it, I’d rearrange all the furniture, switch up the decor, and turn it into a new safe space. When my teachers would ask me to complete a worksheet, I’d not only complete it, I’d work on extra credit, do my homework, and then help my friends since they were probably still working on it. Some may see that as doing the most but that was really my bare minimum. It wasn’t forced, it was second nature to me. It was part of my identity.

Now I’m learning that I do not have the desire I once had to do hard work, let alone any work. Why can’t I do soft work? Like, work that does not consist of me doing much yet still reaps the same benefit. And this was when I truly understood the difference between ownership and management in business.

An owner is someone that owns a company. If you start a dry cleaning business today, you own it. A manager is someone that manages a company that they may or may not own. That dry cleaning business you just started may be managed by you and/or your spouse. 

The more I dive into this entrepreneurship journey, the more I realize I want to be more on the ownership side and less on the management. I have great business ideas, I love developing business strategies, I love seeing my ideas and strategies come to life but at what expense. I have been experiencing burnout because I’m trying to do it all and I’m sick of it.

To combat this, I decided to separate ownership and management in the businesses I currently have, and moving forward, the same strategy will be in place with future business ventures. I gave my business partner full management responsibilities of our short-term rental and 360 photo booth businesses back in January. Life has been much better since I stepped back and now only receive updates on what’s going on. I love that for me. 

The biggest benefit from this shift has been the ability to focus on other things that matter to me. Those two businesses required so much hands-on activity and I no longer want to be that hands-on with my businesses. I just want to check in and receive updates. 

For those of you that may be interested in separating ownership and management in business, here are a few benefits you may want to consider

  • Longevity

This whole concept of generational wealth means you want your business endeavors to be passed down for generations. However, it’s borderline impossible to do that by yourself. You need a team to keep the race going. Look at Amazon. Jeff Bezos is only a 10% owner of a company he founded and today, it has over 1.6 million employees. When he passes away, Amazon will continue to keep the race going because he was able to separate ownership from management.

  • Sustainability

When you truly understand that there is no way for you to do all things, let alone do all things well, you realize you need to bring in other people with diverse skills to sustain your business. Looking back at the Amazon example, their first job ad back in 1994 was for code developers that could work “in about one-third the time that most competent people think possible.” Bezos knew he didn’t have that skill but needed someone with that skill to take the company to the next level. 

  • Peace

I know you’re probably thinking, how can owning a business be peaceful? Well, it all falls back on the idea that we cannot do everything ourselves. Once you forfeit control to others that are more capable of managing the day-to-day operations of your business, the stress of doing it on your own diminishes greatly so you can now focus on more important things —like, maybe your mental health.

Nonetheless, I say all of this to say, you need to take a step back from your business, assess where you are and where you want to be, then adjust accordingly.

If you need assistance with how to actually do this, let’s set up a time to chop it up. I am always open and willing to help others get their business on the right track.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

entrepreneurship, financial literacy

5 Signs You Need To Hire A Business Consultant

Now don’t fight me because I know how you business owners like to tussle but hear me out. 

If you have been following me for any period of time, you know that I wear many hats. So many hats that it is borderline impossible for me to put myself in a box – glory to God for that. However, one of my favorite hats to wear is being a Business Consultant. Business Consultants do a lot of things but my specialty is helping people start businesses, assessing current business operations and providing strategies for restructuring, creating business plans, and even curating marketing strategies for product and service launches. 

You may feel like “I don’t need a consultant” because you took a couple courses, attended YouTube University, or asked your entrepreneur friends and family for advice but that’s not enough. Those courses were not designed specifically for you after a thorough understanding of who you are as an individual and where you are going as a business owner. The same way you go to a doctor because they specialize in medicine and need to know your entire medical history before they can provide you support, it’s the same way you need to go to a consultant that specializes in business and takes the time to understand your business history so they can provide you the necessary support. 

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with a variety of business owners. Some of them knew exactly what they wanted to do but didn’t know how to execute it while others were completely lost in the sauce. I love them both equally because it allows me to exercise different muscles. However, the only reason they came to me was that they wanted to know how I was running my businesses – even if it wasn’t what they were doing – and not necessarily because they knew they needed a business consultant. So I figured it was time to share some signs in your business that it is time to hire a business consultant. Please note, these are not listed in any particular order.

One more thing, before I get started with this list, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people in your same position – no matter which one you identify with. The difference between you and them is that now that you are aware, you are able to make the necessary next step to get things going. Lean on that and you’ll be fine.

Okay, so here they are.

  1. You want to start a business but you don’t know what to do

There are so many people interested in starting businesses but they don’t even know where to start, let alone what to sell. And if you Google or YouTube “business ideas”, you’re bombarded with more opportunities than you can process. A business consultant can help you identify your needs and do research to find you a profitable business. For instance, if you know that you want to start a business that generates passive income but you don’t know what product you can sell, the business consultant can do that research and create a plan of action of how it would work.

  1. You have a business idea but you need help flushing out the details and/or how to get started

If you are anything like me, you always have an idea. You find yourself saying “oh, I should start this business” but when it’s time to iron out the details, you get overwhelmed with it and leave it in the Notes section of your iPhone. A business consultant is a perfect person to help you, deep-dive, into that idea and help you figure out how to get the ball rolling.

  1. You already started your business but you’re not seeing any or minimal profits

So you did everything all the business gurus told you to do but your business is not generating the revenue you thought it would. Been there, done that. This is a great place to be because a business consultant is not starting with you from scratch, even though they may need you to take them all the way to the beginning to walk them through how you got to this current position. The beauty of this is that you know more than you think. What do I mean by that? Well, you have something that prospective business owners don’t have – data. A business consultant can help you analyze your business data to see where things went “wrong” and how to get back on track to endless sales.

  1. You already had a business, shut it down for a bit, and now you want to make a comeback

You had a business and for some reason, you closed the doors. Maybe there wasn’t enough revenue coming in to break even every day. Maybe you experienced a life-changing event and the responsibility of running a business had to take the backseat. Maybe it was taking away too much time from your family. Whatever the reason, you have decided to reopen those doors. A business consultant will gladly help you create a business strategy for your relaunch and can help you come up with a plan to stay in business. The biggest thing here is you would need to be honest with yourself and your business consultant when discussing what you want your role to be in your business and where you want the business to go.

  1. You have a successful business and you’re ready to scale 

Just in case you don’t know what it means to scale, let me provide a definition. In business, scaling means the ability to increase production and revenue WITHOUT increasing resources. This is where we take into account a term I taught my students in Economics called “Factors of Production.” The factors of production are the resources (inputs) – land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship – used to produce goods and services (outputs). The goal of every business is to keep inputs low while keeping outputs high. To do this, your business needs to create effective systems and processes that allow your outputs to grow exponentially which in turn brings in more money for the company while keeping costs of operation low. A business consultant can help you identify that sweet spot and create a strategy to help you get there. 

Now, I want to highlight that this is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other reasons to see a business consultant. Maybe your business currently focuses on one thing and you want to pivot into offering a different type of service/product. Maybe you have multiple businesses and feel like you are being stretched too thin. Maybe everything is going just fine and you just want a health check. No matter the reason, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to one.

I will write part two to this where I highlight what you need to look for in a business consultant so you aren’t wasting your time and money. Business consultants can charge hundreds, even thousands per hour, and high cost does not always equate to a high value so before you make that investment, you need a blueprint. But in the meantime, try to assess if you actually need one. 

And of course, if you’re in the market for a business consultant, consider me 🙂 shameless plugschedule an appointment.

I hope this was helpful.

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

Uncategorized

Dropshipping with Printful

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links meaning, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase

If you’re reading this, you probably have this amazing idea to start your own online store. Maybe you want to sell clothes or maybe you want to sell mugs. Either way, somehow you found yourself stumbling across the words “dropshipping” and “printful”. Well, I do both and want to share my experience in hopes it provides more clarity for you.

First of all, let’s define some terms.

What is dropshipping?

For the sake of this blog, we’ll define dropshipping as the middleman between a customer and the business owner. Let me elaborate. Dropshipping allows you to sell a product you do not physically have in your presence. You know how people have a warehouse full of inventory they need to sell? Dropshipping companies realized there are people who (1) may not have the means to house inventory or (2) are not even interested in housing inventory. So they came up with this idea to allow you to house your products (or utilize theirs) and they will customize, package, and ship the product to the customer on your behalf.

For the visual learners, here’s the closest thing to a graphic I can provide

  • You want to sell holiday themed pajamas
  • You find a company that makes them 
  • You create a partnership with them where they charge you $10/pajamas to customize, package, and ship to prospective customers
  • You set up an online store promoting the pajamas for $30/pajamas
  • A customer goes on your site and purchases two pajamas for $60
  • You pay the company $20 to fulfill the order
  • You profit $40 from the sale
  • Everybody Wins

And the best part of that scenario is you didn’t even have to lift a finger. 

Now, our next question is – what is Printful?

Simple. Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipping company. That means they make orders as they come in – similar to going to a restaurant. You have to put in a food order and they will cook it for you. Let’s go back to the holiday-themed pajamas. Printful has a warehouse full of generic products to customize. You select the pajama type you like and provide them with the graphic designs you want on them. Printful gives you mockup photos to put on your site to promote to customers. Every time someone purchases pajamas from your site, Printful is notified and they will fulfill that order on your behalf.

And once again, you never had to lift a finger.

So how do I – Lola The Manager – use it?

Well, I have my own online store where I sell entrepreneurial apparel. I use Printful’s dropshipping services to fulfill all orders. I chose this method for several reasons:

  1. I didn’t want to spend money on inventory that may potentially not sell
  2. I didn’t want / nor had the means to house any inventory
  3. I wanted to be hands-off with this business venture
  4. I wanted more passive income
  5. It had $0 startup cost

I have been using Printful for almost 2 years now and my feelings for it in the beginning still remain – I love it. 

Now let me just say this. In order for this to work, you need to sync Printful to an eCommerce platform like Wix, Shopify, or Etsy. Printful is only the back office. They need a front office to tell them what to do. That front office is the eCommerce platform you decide to use. I personally use Wix. So though Printful is free to use (because you are only charged after an order comes in), the eCommerce platform you decide to use will not be free. I know Shopify charges a monthly rate to use their site whereas Wix charges an annual fee. You just have to see which option works best for you.

I hope this provided some clarity for those interested in dropshipping – specifically through Printful. If you would like a tutorial or course on how to set this up, please tell me in the comments or send me a message. You know I am always looking for ways to educate us, fellow entrepreneurs. 

Until Next Time,

LOLA THE MANAGER

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