Creating Multiple Streams of Income: Finding what works for you

“Prepare for war in the time of peace,” was one of my late grandfather’s favorite sayings.  In fact, he introduced our family to entrepreneurship and the concept of multiple streams of income.  From the time I was in junior high school up until the day he passed in my mid 20’s; he poured a lot of time and knowledge into me about investing, saving, passive income and entrepreneurship.  He was planting seeds, but I was not quite ready to apply this invaluable information.   At the time, I did not realize he was providing me with “free training” that some of my colleagues pay thousands of dollars to attend.   A few years after my grandfather’s passing, I was introduced to various home-based businesses that discussed similar wealth building principles that my grandfather often preached (multiple streams of income, passive income, investing, leveraging your time).  Some people viewed the multi-level marketing home based businesses as pyramid schemes, but I viewed it as a way to continue the legacy in my family that my grandfather created.  At the time, I was  more focused on the short term gains, the money I did not make “yesterday,” what friends and family would think if I struggled or even worse-failed!  I was so focused on these variables that I did not allot enough time for the fruits of my labor to unfold.  My “why” wasn’t big enough and I gave up too soon.  The only regret I have is quitting because I know that quitting guarantees failure.

What I learned:

Creating multiple streams of income takes time, commitment, discipline, work ethic and investing (not spending) money.  When creating streams of income, think of this process as if it were your retirement plan that you invest in with your employer (401K or 403B); you get out of it what you put into it.  Imagine creating a passive income-income earned on a regular basis with little effort required to maintain it.  Some examples include, but are not limited to royalties from writing a book, property income, income from traditional and home based businesses.  No matter which avenue you choose you have to put in the work.  Remember, the only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary.  Short term sacrifices for long term success.

Why is creating multiple streams of income important?

It may not be your goal to accumulate wealth or to pursue early retirement from your career.  However, I am sure we can all agree that time can be our biggest liability or our most valuable asset.  It is the one thing we cannot get back.  Most people struggle with time management.  I often hear people say (myself included) “There are not enough hours in the day.” “If only I had more time.”  Creating multiple streams of income will allow you to leverage your time.  Most of us spend at least 8 hours per day and 5 days per week working.  Some of us may spend even more time working and less time with our families.  How many of us see our colleagues more than we see our families?  If you’re like me, you love what you do and you would like to have more time to spend with your family without having to worry about loss of income.  Other than spending time with our families, do you have a plan if life happens on life’s terms?  What happens if you get sick and cannot be physically present to make money? If you’re a business owner, can your business run without you being physically present?  What is your plan if you lost your job tomorrow?  Have you thought about your retirement plan?  The answers to these questions are intended to shed light on the importance of having Plan A-Z in order to prepare for the uncertainties of life.

Ideas for Streams of Income:

At the moment, I work full time and have found ways to create other streams of income to prepare for the future.  Here are some ideas that may assist you in planning for your family’s future:

Traditional Business: My business partner and I started HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC; a private counseling practice close to 2 years ago.  In a traditional business you wear many hats, especially in the beginning as you are attempting to keep a manageable overhead.  The benefits of running a traditional business are the limitless possibilities.  You get to decide if you want to wear every hat or outsource jobs and hire staff.  You get to decide when your day begins and ends, you make the policies.  The success of your business depends on you.

Home based business:  Most home based businesses involve multi-level marketing (mlm).  Most people run in the other direction when they get approached about multi-level marketing opportunities.   A lot of mlm’s get negative press due to people having bad experiences.  There are mlm’s that work, but again, you have to work it.  Find a home based business that makes sense for you and get a mentor/accountability partner.

Real Estate: I have read that real estate is one of the best ways to produce passive income.  Again, you will have to put in a lot of work up front which may include buying, repairing and renting properties.  The short term sacrifice is the amount of work and money you will need to invest.  The long term success is the cash flow rental properties can produce every month and freeing up time to spend with loved ones-leveraging time.

Podcasting:  I recently started my podcasting show, “The Vitamin C Show” which was a spinoff from my book; Vitamin C: Healing for the Mind Body and Soul, with the purpose of creating a platform for professionals and entrepreneurs to discuss their contributions to the community.  Health and wellness, relationships, education, mental health, entrepreneurship and financial planning are amongst the topics discussed on the show.  Starting your own podcast show is a great way to build your brand, market your business and collaborate with other professionals and entrepreneurs which can lead to passive income.

Write a Book: The feeling you experience after completing your first book and seeing the finished product is surreal.  Writing a good book is another way to produce a stream of income.  If you are considering writing a book, write a good book and prepare a good marketing plan.  Books do not sell themselves and writing the book is a fraction of the work needed to become an award winning and/or best-selling author.  One of the most important things to consider when writing your book includes your target audience.  What are the needs of your target audience?

All of these categories involve some form of sales.  I often hear people say, ‘I cannot sell’ or ‘selling isn’t for me.’  We sell ourselves every day!  If you are employed, guess what, you sold yourself at your interview.  Just remember people don’t want to feel sold, they want to do business with people they trust.  Be you, remember the reason “Why” you are doing this and have fun.  No one wants to work with someone who is too uptight.

Although there are many other avenues for creating multiple streams of income, these were the few that stood out to me.  I have learned the importance of creating multiple streams of income and my current streams of income include HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC, Vitamin C Healing for the Mind, Body and Soul, and health and wellness coaching with Herbalife. No matter which stream you choose to invest in, the common denominator in each area will be you.  Nothing will work unless you work. What will YOU do to make it work?

What I learned in my first year as a business owner: Lessons that sparked my growth

The first year of business is tough.  In fact, statistics have revealed that 50% of businesses fail in their first year.  During my first year in a partnership as a small business owner, I had my share of struggles and successes.  The first 6 months were the toughest; there was so much to do, so much to learn.  I was transitioning from working independently as a full time employee to being in a business partnership as a part time entrepreneur with a long-time and dear friend.  We had our share of excitement and ups and downs which allowed us to grow individually and as partners.

Over the past few months, I spent time reflecting on the lessons learned throughout my first year.  It has been on my heart to share these lessons, as they may speak to those trying to find their way as business owners.

The top 10 invaluable lessons learned in my first year:

  1. Don’t quit: This is by far the most important lesson I have learned. By quitting, we rob ourselves of success and guarantee permanent defeat. Starting a business is fun, exciting and pretty scary. Maintaining a business through the highs and lows is not fun and cause most of us to quit.
  2. Find your “Why”: This lesson is just as important as the first lesson. In fact, the 2 go hand in hand. When you are able to get to the core of the reason you are doing your business, you are less likely to quit. Discovering what drives you when the referrals are low, rejection is high, the cash flow is lower than the overhead and you feel defeated. “Your why should be so big it makes your cry!”
  3. The fortune is in the follow-up: I dread making phone calls. This “feeling” may be linked to fear of rejection. However, I have grown more fearful of what may happen if I don’t make that phone-call or worse; fail to follow-up. As a business owner, it is on you to follow-up on projects, referrals, etc. There is no boss to hold you accountable for your lack of follow up. You are the boss. The success or failure of your business is on you (following up).
  4. Treating your business like a “Fortune 500 Company”: My business may not yet be featured as a fortune 500 company. However, I still choose to treat it as such. If you treat your business like pennies, you will make pennies. Our professionalism, quality of services offered, quality of marketing materials and promotion of events all speak to the quality of our company. Would you be your own customer?
  5. Investing versus Spending: We spend money on entertainment, clothes and vacations. We invest money in building our brands. Money invested in marketing materials, promoting events and personal development are designed to build you in order to build your business. The price for success is paid up front and in full. When we put in the work, we will see a return on our investment (R.O.I)
  6. Be prepared to work non-traditional hours: Being a business owner is a daily grind; it may even be a “moment grind.” You are never really “off the clock.” There is no punching in and out of work. You are always “on,” people are always watching, you are constantly networking. Again, there is no boss to manage your time or work. You are on your dime. I have learned, “If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me.”
  7. Prepare for war in the time of peace: My late grandfather and successful entrepreneur, Earl Hemby always preached this saying to my family. There will be times when business is “booming” and there will be times when business is slow. As a business owner, you don’t get the benefit package of an employee. There are no paid vacations, sick days or paid time off unless you provide them. Can your business survive without you running it or working in it? What if you get sick? It is imperative to plan for unforeseen events that may require you to be away from your business.
  8. If your mouth is closed, your doors are closed: When we opened our doors on November 1, 2013, I envisioned HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC having satellite offices throughout the surrounding counties of Pittsburgh and eventually expanding throughout the East Coast. By the way, this is still my vision for HandinHand. I know in order to make this happen; people have to know we exist. We are blessed to have the ability to use social media as a free marketing tool. I have also learned the importance of being present in the communities of our targeted populations, attending events and collaborating with other providers. I am just as excited about HandinHand as I was when my partner and I envisioned our baby.
  9. Working in the business versus working on the business: “Build the business and the customers will follow.” Working on the business is an ongoing process. When we work on the business we are developing business plans, engaging in personal development activities (seminars, reading, conferences, workshops)handling the administrative tasks and promoting events. Working in the business includes collaboration and customer service.
  10. No limits: I may have mentioned many unappealing aspects to being a business owner. However, I am sure most if not all business owners would agree that owning your business is a surreal feeling. You have complete control of the direction of your business. You make the rules, policies and have the freedom to use your creativity to grow your business. You are your own boss!

Each day I set at least one goal geared toward improving my business.  The goal can include collaborating with a referral source to reading a chapter of a personal development book. The lessons learned in accomplishing and even falling short of goals in 18 months of being a business owner were designed to shape me into the person I am today.  I am not the same woman who opened her first business in 2013.  I am still a work in progress, my journey continues.

Also check out Sharise Hemby’s book; Vitamin C: The Healing Workbook here.

Please share your experiences as a new or seasoned business owner.  Maybe you are considering starting a business, please share your thoughts, fears concerns and questions.

The Myths & Realities of Conflict: Tips to Managing Conflict in the various facets of our lives

What is conflict?

Conflict can be defined as 2 or more parties with opposing views having a disagreement or debate.  Examples of where conflict shows up include parent-child conflict, workplace conflict, couples conflict, peer conflict.  Some of us attempt to avoid conflict as if it were the plague.  Others welcome conflict as if it were a long-lost friend.  The purpose of this article is to enhance your tool box so you are prepared to manage conflict as it occurs in your personal and professional lives.

What are the myths?

“It’s better not to talk about conflict?”  This statement may speak to what we were taught about conflict.  What are your views about conflict?  Can talking about conflict make the problem worse?  Discussing the problem that resulted in conflict is likely to cause both parties to escalate.  However, the things we do not discuss have no chance of getting resolved.

“The other party must change!” Take a minute to reflect on your last conflict.  Did you spend time attempting to convince them why your way was “the” way? Did you spend time convincing them that you were right and they were wrong?  Maybe you were on the other side of this conflict where you were the receiver of this convincing and persuading.  Did this strategy effect change in you or the other party?  We may be able to temporarily convince or persuade someone to see things through our lens but it is nearly impossible to sustain this behavior.  Remember, change comes from within and is sustained by internal motivators.

What are the realities?

“Conflict is a form of communication.” I see many clients who seek our services stating “they want to learn to communicate with each other.” I remind them that they are in fact communicating with each other, conflict is a form of communication and conflict occurs in the healthiest relationships.  Combat, however is not a healthy form of communication and occurs when each party is gearing up to take on the other on the battlefield.

“We can change how we respond to conflict.”  Conflict is 10 percent of what we absorb from our party and 90 percent of how we respond or react to our party.  As mentioned previously, we cannot change our party, but we can change how we think and respond to conflict.  Be the change you want to see.  I discuss this further in my book, Vitamin C: The Healing Workbook, available for purchase here.

Managing Conflict in our personal and professional relationships

Use the conflict as an opportunity.  Our perception is our reality.  If we view conflict as combat, each time conflict arises we will gear up to battle our party.  However, if we view it as an opportunity to learn, grow and connect; conflict may not have such a negative connotation associated with it.

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Although conflict is normal in all relationships, it is still uncomfortable for most of us.  We must have those necessary, but uncomfortable conversations where conflict will arise in order to grow in our relationships.  Helping professionals who advocate for social justice on behalf of their clients encounter conflict almost on a daily basis.  Co-parents disagreeing on child rearing practices, colleagues disagreeing on company projects, business partners disagreeing      on the structure of the company are more examples of relationships where each party relies on the other for a bigger cause; and their ability to manage conflict can have a profound impact on society.

“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” When managing conflict we need a healthy balance of emotion and logic in order to be successful.  Emotions allow us to have empathy and logic allows us to reason.  Being empathetic is acknowledging the other party’s position.   Lead with “I” statements in order to avoid blaming.  For example “I feel hurt when you call me names.” “I’m hearing you say.”  Applying logic to conflict is using discernment and determining when it is okay to agree to disagree.

When approaching a situation that may result in conflict, take a deep breath and ask yourself these 2 questions, “What is going on within me that will impact this conversation?”  What am I hoping to accomplish from this conversation?” Remember, conflict is inevitable; combat is optional.

Are you seeking techniques for managing conflict in your life?  Click here for more information on managing conflict.

A Holistic Approach to Mental Health Wellness: Examining 4 components to maintain a balanced lifestyle

We live best when we are in balance!  Oftentimes life can come at us fast; resulting in most of us losing our center in search of balance.  Most of us seek work-life balance and when one facet dominates our lives we can become imbalanced. This article will discuss strategies for finding balance from a holistic approach in a fast paced society.

As a mental health professional, I have learned that treating patients from a holistic approach is imperative to get to the core of the problem and assist them in developing or enhancing the tools to manage life’s complexities.  There are many components that factor into treating the whole person. In this article, I will highlight the physical, emotional, mental/ psychological and spiritual domains.

Physical Wellness: This may be the most important area to obtaining mental health wellness.  Before we can address the other components, we must he aware of any physical symptoms that may be affecting an individual’s ability to function.  Assessing the physical symptoms before the mental health symptoms is essential.  Most patients present with physical symptoms that mirror mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression (problems sleeping, loss of appetite, panic attacks, and shortness of breath).  When this occurs, patients should be referred to their primary medical doctor to rule out any medical conditions before continuing mental health treatment.  Some questions to consider:

How much sleep are you getting at night?

Do you exercise regularly?

Are you getting proper nutrition?

Do you see your doctor regularly?

Emotional Wellness: People in good emotional health are not exempt from adversity.  However, they are resilient, having the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.  Emotional wellness is the groundwork for what is necessary for identifying and nurturing your feelings, your intellect and your conscious inner-being.  Some strategies for enhancing our emotional wellness include Positive affirmations, practicing self-love, find a hobby, don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be afraid to say yes, practice forgiveness.

Emotional health also involves the people around you.  Conduct an inventory of the people you spend the most time around.

Are they supportive?

Do they challenge you?

Are they draining or discouraging?

Mental/Psychological Wellness: Individuals who have good mental and psychological health are able to use their cognitive and emotional capabilities to function in society and meet the day to day demands of life. If an individual finds himself or herself suffering from symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, feelings of hopelessness that persist for several days, irritability, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations (hearing voices), delusions seek medical attention immediately. Again, medical conditions should be ruled out before patients begin treatment with a mental health professional.  Most mental health disorders are a result of chemical imbalances and some are genetic.  When an individual has a chemical imbalance, he or she may have a mental health disorder.  Seeking mental health treatment is extremely important in assisting individuals in tapping into their strengths to enhance their coping skills in order to manage their conditions.  It is also important to take any medication prescribed by your doctor and report all side effects in counseling and to your doctor.  Do not stop taking medications without speaking to your doctor.  Other strategies for enhancing our mental and psychological wellness include joining a support group, journaling, reading a self-help book and practicing relaxation techniques.

Spiritual Wellness: The activity we engage in to find and nurture a sense of connection to a higher power and deeper meaning for our lives.  Spiritual wellness involves the values and beliefs that provide meaning and purpose in our lives.  A huge part of spiritual wellness is understanding “Who Am I?”  When the gap between whom we are versus whom we think we are narrows; we begin to have good spiritual health.  The process of spiritual wellness also includes what is real within our own experiences on our journeys to discover our truths.  Consider the following questions for developing spiritual wellness:

Do you make time for relaxation in your day?

Do you make time for meditation or prayer in your day?

Do your values align with your decisions and actions?

Do you accept the values and views of others?

When treating the whole person, the goal is to assist individuals in finding balance in each facet of their lives.  It may take time before one is ready to divulge the information needed to take the steps to achieve the desired results.  There are many different ways to assist individuals in achieving this goal, but the one variable that does not change is meeting individuals where they are!

More information on a holistic approach to mental health wellness can be found in Sharise Hemby’s book Vitamin C: The Healing Workbook for the Mind, Body and Soul, click here

For a consultation, contact Sharise Hemby at vitaminchealing@gmail.com

Change your thinking, Change your life: Tips for shifting your thoughts into assets.

Have you ever spent time around someone who seems to never have anything positive to say?  When asked how their day is going, brace yourself for a laundry list of everything wrong in life.  An uncle of mine used to say these people were “happy to be mad.”  Oftentimes they have alienated quality people from their lives because of their negative outlook on life.  The good news is there is still hope for this group to transform their negative thinking into positive thinking.  One may question the benefits if they view life as unfair.  Life is unfair, but what if I told you that life is 10 percent of what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond.  If my math is correct, this adds up to us having huge control over our lives.  Will you choose to traverse through life expending energy with a negative attitude?  Or, are you ready to transform your thoughts to positive thoughts and experience a paradigm shift?

One of the distinguishing characteristics between successful and unsuccessful people is their mindset.  Successful people do not succumb to the seduction of victimhood and sing the “Woe is me” blues.  Successful people choose to stare in the eyes of adversity as their unwavering commitment to their goals will not allow them to quit.  When problems arise, successful people view problems as “possibilities” or opportunities to learn and grow.   The more successful people have actively taken steps to make their thoughts assets instead of liabilities.  You may be wondering; how do they accomplish such a simple but powerful task?  Based on my experiences, observations and conversations with the more successful people in life; I have learned that their answers to the following questions separates them from others.

Who do you spend your time around?  “If you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.”  Do you spend time around people who inspire, encourage, challenge and motivate you?  Or, do you spend time around people who criticize, discourage and drain you.  We are the sum or our 5 closest friends and oftentimes we can find at least one quality that we share with those friends.  We attract who we are and where we are in life.  If your desire is to shift your thought process and become more successful, take a look at your circle.  I discuss this concept further in my book Vitamin C: The Healing Workbook, which can be found here.

How do you spend your time?  Time can be our ally or our friend. I am a firm believer in “work hard, play hard.”  However, I also come from the generation where parents told us “if you are too sick to go to school you are too sick to play.” The purpose of this concept was to instill work ethic.  The ways in which we choose to spend or invest our time will determine our level of success.  You can also read more about the impact time has on our level of success in my blog about balancing full time employment and part time entrepreneurship here.

What book(s) are your reading?  Are you reading? Our brains are like gardens and the seeds we plant in our brains by the material we choose to read can impact our thoughts.

What thoughts dominate your mind?  Do you focus on the problems or the opportunities?  If we remain problem focused, we are more likely to view life as problematic.  The more successful people are problem solvers.  They identify the problem and use their resources to find solutions.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  What legacy do you want to leave behind? Are you living or existing?  Do you go through the motions or apply yourself?  Another characteristic of successful people is they have long-term thinking.  They begin with their end in mind and work in the present to plant seeds for their legacy.

Who inspires you?  Who do you look up to?  Do you have an accountability partner?  As aforementioned, the more successful people are mindful of whom they share space, time and energy.  Most successful people started their journey with a mentor, someone who tells us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.  I encourage you to reflect on one person you look up to.  If you haven’t already, reach out to them and pick their brains.  Successful people are usually not hoarders of information and are more than willing to share their knowledge with people who are open to learning.

The direction of our lives can begin with one thought! Our thoughts become our words, our words become our behaviors, our behaviors become our habits, and our habits become our values, which can ultimately determine our destiny.  Remember, whether you think you can or cannot, you are absolutely correct.

How do you keep negative thoughts at bay? How has your life been impacted by positivity and/or negativity? Please share your experiences.

If you are ready to transform your thoughts to transform your life, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation @ vitaminchealing@gmail.com.

The Vitamin C Healing Book: A holistic approach to healing for the mind, body and soul

The Vitamin C Healing Book:

A holistic approach to healing for the mind, body and soul

I have learned that one of the most defining moments in our lives is the moment we find our reason “why.” Your why is your purpose, your passion, the cause that is bigger than you.  I chose the helping profession because I wanted to effect positive change on many levels.  I always knew I wanted to help people in some capacity.  As I evolved in my profession my “why” became clear.   As a social worker, one of our major responsibilities to the communities is to advocate for social justice.  After working for various organizations in the helping profession I began to notice a common trend of individuals struggling to advocate for themselves and their families.  Two of the most common settings where this trend occurs include school meetings and doctor appointments.   Picture the principal, vice principal, dean of students, teacher, teacher’s aide and possibly the cafeteria aide on one side of the table and the parent and child on the other side of the table.  This setting can be intimidating and can influence the parent to become too aggressive in  his/her defense of the child or too passive out of fear, guilt and/or lack of knowledge of the education system.  A doctor’s office can also be an intimidating setting for patients.  Doctor’s appointments are designed for physical wellness and preventative care.  In my experience, most patients have avoided the Doctor’s office due to being overwhelmed by the difficult medical terminology used to describe their condition, the measures needed to treat the condition and ultimately not knowing what questions to ask in regards to their health.  Often times questions are not asked and concerns are not raised as patients do not always feel heard by the medical professional.  Although the settings are different, the individuals in both settings want to feel heard.  In each scenario, my role as a social worker is to ensure individuals know their rights and are prepared for the best and worst case scenarios during the meetings.  More importantly, during these meetings it is my role to find the balance in advocating for individuals while also allowing them the space to use their voice and advocate for themselves.

Vitamin C: Healing for the Mind Body and Soul is a spin off from my private counseling practice, HandinHand Counseling Services, LLC.  HandinHand Counseling Services is dedicated to promoting Hope, Health and Healing to individuals and families struggling with situational concerns to more pressing mental health issues.   At HandinHand, our mission is to assist individuals in seeking clarity, restoring hope and experience healing through the course of treatment.  Understanding that there are individuals who are unable to receive services in our office for a variety of reasons; but would benefit greatly from a resource that offered the tools to facilitate positive change in their lives inspired me to write a book.

Have you experienced disappointments, pain from losing a loved one, or divorce? 

Have you ever struggled with balancing the joys of life and emotional differences? 

Are you struggling with finding your voice?

Are you ready to interrupt the generational patterns that have been keeping your family stuck?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, The Vitamin C Healing Workbook provides resources and life applicable tools to facilitate sustainable change.  Each chapter includes a thorough workbook section that allows you to work through some of your most pressing issues and experience the healing you desire.

I invite you to join me for The Vitamin C Healing Meet and Greet Book Signing event where you can purchase a new copy, get your copy signed and your questions answered!   The event is being held this Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 12:30pm-2:30pm at the Union Project Building, 801 N. Negley Avenue Suite # 5 Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

Books can also be purchased at www.ex3ent.com or amazon.com.

I can also be reached via email at Vitaminchealing@gmail.com.

I look forward to meeting and conversing with both new and familiar faces!

See you there!