Health and Financial stability!
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Finding the Balance Between Health and Financial Stability
“Huh! What’s that black stuff on my pillow?” I wondered to myself upon waking up. I didn’t really think much of it. Just picked it up and threw it in the trash. You see, it has been almost two years now since I started my get out of debt journey. I had been intensely focused on getting out of debt ever since I got an audiobook called The Total Money Makeover at the end of my university career, and decided to put its thesis to practice.
A few lessons
During my university days, I didn’t really party much, didn’t get into any credit card debt. And to this day the only debt I have is my student loans. After university, the job market was rough. So I picked up every odd job that I could. I did some retail arbitrage (retail arbitrage is a form of flipping products. It’s when you buy a product from target or yard sales and then sell them on other platforms, such as Craigslist, eBay or other niche websites), Amazon and eBay flipping, tutoring, freelance work, yard work, and worked as a pizza delivery driver. Eventually, within 3 years of graduating, I landed one of my dream jobs, working in post-production for a television network. I also had gazelle-like intensity about getting out debt.
The problem with gazelle-like intensity is when it’s done without balance it can lead to other problems in the future. Remember the black stuff on my pillow that I mentioned earlier…. yea that was a chunk of hair. Something was going really wrong with me. I started to see a large patch of hair on my face that would not grow back after I shaved my face in the morning. You see with all this hustle since my college days, I thought I was living a fairly healthy lifestyle. I was a vegetarian. Never drank or partied. Focused on work. Stayed in my lane and avoided drama. This allowed me to pay down a lot of debt. Despite trying to do the right thing and learning from my mistakes, it was a little too late for my body.
This meant a rapid change in how I would manage my work and health. I had to look at the reality of the situation that I am in and take a much more balanced approach to get out of debt. All the side hustles that I was doing now had to come to a grinding halt, including the financial component of things. I had to reallocate my financial resources, what was once set aside to pay down debt has now been put towards rebuilding my health. The five-year plan to get out of debt just got extended.
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Money panic burns like bad whiskey, doesn’t it? But it creeps up instead of down. I felt the money panic start to grip me, as I realized my rent check of $795 was out in the world, but my bank account was creeping down to $900. (BTW: Don’t feel bad for me, never feel bad for me: I don’t have money problems, I have money choices.) After 11 days focusing on networking in New York, I had neglected the marketing and sales side of my business. I had no work lined up, and the process of pitching, discussing, getting assignments, executing the assignment, editing, invoicing, harassing for payment, then actually receiving a check made me feel like I don’t know how I’d make it through this month.
Make your own flash cards
My main client usually has work for me, and he pays his invoices on the same day like a saint, but he didn’t have anything for me at the moment. I went around Twitter and Facebook, mentioning that I was accepting clients. It felt like begging. In the weeks before, I’d been in talks to write for one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, one of the most famous guitar brands, and multiple people from the newspaper with the world’s most Pulitzer Prizes. But today, I needed a lemonade stand.
I know about this kind of hustle from living in South America, where people are hustling all over the place. Even a 10-year-old knows the pack of gum offered to you right now on a bus is worth more than a pack of gum a mile away at the store. You need almost nothing to create convenience for people. Last week in New York I saw a woman with a cooler full of drinks by Prospect Park on a sunny day. Same thing. A lemonade stand is making work for yourself. You start with your assets. Google says an asset is “a useful or valuable thing, person, or quality,” and also “property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments, or legacies.” Without even realizing it, you might have amazing assets.
I think every freelancer, or even everyone should have an answer to the question: What will I do if I get in a situation where I need money immediately? Your lemonade stand is the answer. The story didn’t end that day. Remember the moms and best friends I took pictures of? One hired me to rewrite her bio for $150. The other? Well she called me more than a month later to design her website and take new photos. The pay? $2,000.
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