Behind the scenes of a $200,000 health business

 
Want to know exactly how a $200,000 health business is run behind the scenes? Click to find ALL the nitty gritty details from what to spend your money on, how to save easily for huge expenses, like income taxes and masterminds, and how this one Registered Holistic Nutritionist is planning to pay of her $191K mortgage in less than 3 years. #healthcoaching #nutritionbusiness #businesstips #launching #squarespace
 

I meant to start this year off with a “2018 year in review” post, like you see so many business owners do. I already have a blog post about my journey to making $5,000 a month as a holistic nutritionist, and I shared all my income and expenses from the start of my business in 2008 all the way to 2016, when I finally started making the equivalent to a full time income. I decided that I wanted to write about my income from last year, but in a way that included some very tangible lessons that you could use to manage your money as a health business owner.

And P.S. even if you don’t own a “health business”, like I focus on, these lessons are totally translatable to any other type of business.

You see, money in our industry (and what I’m learning is that ALL industries have the same problem!) is kind of a taboo subject. Us health practitioners or wellness entrepreneurs don’t want to talk about making $5,000, $10,000, or even $20,000+ a month. Hells no, that’s selfish. That’s not enlightened. That’s dirty, icky, or insert any other negative adjective here.

No, we want to talk about helping people, and spreading the word about health and how people can feel better …. not about money.

But guess what? You can’t pay your bills with Instagram followers. Or emails in your inbox saying “your blog post helped me so much!”. Those are all well and good, but the bank and other companies only accept MONEY in exchange for your mortgage, rent, phone bills, car insurance, etc, etc, etc.

 

Stop thinking about money as evil, and start thinking about it like a tool to serve not only other people, but yourself in a healthier way.

 

How can you show up as the healthiest you (in all facets, including mental and emotional health), serve others, and show them that they can overcome even the most debilitating health conditions when you can’t even afford to buy your groceries each week?

How can you show up as your best self when you can’t afford to see a dentist for your tooth pain? Or a chiropractor or physiotherapist after a car accident? Or a a massage therapist for the recurring headaches you’re getting from working too long the computer each day as you’re growing your business?

All of those things need money. I was going to follow this up with unfortunately, as in unfortunately you’re going to have to deal with your money blocks, but then it struck me that I should be saying fortunately after that.

If you’re reading this, you’re fortunate enough to live in a country where your standard of living is high enough that you have electricity, the internet, and either a computer or phone to be viewing this very website on.

If you’re reading this (and most likely a woman, since that’s my target audience), you’re fortunate enough to live in the year 2019 when you, as a woman, are even allowed to educate yourself and start a business. There are many countries around the world where that wouldn’t even be an option for you if you happened to be born with ovaries and a uterus.

If you’re reading this, you’re fortunate enough to be able to use money, which is a renewable resource, in exchange for time, which is a non-renewable resource. You can pay money to generate better health by affording healthier foods and healthcare that many others can’t.

If you’re healthier, chances are you’ll live longer … you’re actually paying money to make more time.

 

So I’m sorry if money scares you, my dear, but it literally makes the world go ‘round.

And burying your head in the sand isn’t going to help.

 

If you’re starting at square one, and thinking to yourself that you don’t even know how much you make or spend, then step #1, before you do anything else, is to figure those basic numbers out.

If your personal finances are a mess, there are many, many other websites and small businesses where that’s their jam, and nothing lights them up more than helping others get their personal stuff in order.

If you have no idea what state your business finances are in, then click here to read my blog post about the 3 easy ways to track your money, and go back and figure out your revenue (how much money you brought in) and expenses (how much money you paid out for things you need to run your business) in your business.

The most important part about your business finances is knowing your profit.

 

Profit = your take home pay

 

Most entrepreneurs share only their revenue numbers, saying that they made 6 or 7 figures, but their expenses might be half or 75% of what they’re generating from selling their products or services. In 2017, my expenses ate up 40% of the income I generated, and 2018 isn’t looking that much different.

This means that I don’t get to take home all $200,000 of the income I generated in 2018, but $120,000 of it. Yes, that’s still a lot, but it isn’t anywhere close to $200,000.

Beware of the business coach or entrepreneur who lures you in with promises of 6 figures or more. They usually take home much less than that, and very few are transparent enough to tell you.

Alright, let’s move on.

Income

The first thing you need to know in your business is where is your income coming from AND how much is it?

Just knowing this simple information can be a total eye opener. You might not have known that you make 95% of your income from one product or service, or you might think you make way less than you actually do … probably because you’re spending too much of it and not keeping enough.

Even though I haven’t gotten my complete 2018 numbers yet from my bookkeeper (I’ll talk about how I hired this out under my expenses), I can tell you exactly how much money I generated because I track every single deposit into my business account.

In fact, I’ve done this exercise since 2013, so 5 years now. What this does is takes you from saying “I don’t make enough money” to diagnosing if that’s even the problem. Basically, it stops you from telling yourself lies and stories you make up in your head in exchange for real, hard numbers.

Here’s my breakdown for 2018, and remember that this is actual income generated in my business, and doesn’t include sales taxes (all figures in Canadian):

2018 doTERRA income = $177,906.71
2018 Brand, Build, Blog income = $21,785.68

2018 total income generated = $199,692.39 (sooooooo close to $200K)

This is a 23% increase over 2017, which I’m (obviously) super happy about, and I’m scaling my Brand, Build, Blog program this year in a major way.

Keep reading because I’m going to share with you how I break down this income to pay down debt, save for taxes (as of this time of writing, I have almost $37,000 in a savings account just for this), pay for $10,000 masterminds with cash, and invest heavily back into my team.

What’s coming this year

I’m not going to lie, in 2018 I felt very stagnant in my doTERRA business. And I don’t mean my team, there were definitely a few superstars who rocked it. I mean that I wasn’t personally pushing as hard, and there were a lot of things that felt heavy around this part of my business. I’m now over 4 years into building my business with doTERRA, and last year I needed to take time to rest at a plateau, so that I could gather my strength for the next push to Blue Diamond.

Might I add that I love that my “stagnant” business, where I felt like I plateaued this year, still brought in over $175,000 last year. THAT is the power of network marketing, my friends.

This year’s focus in my doTERRA business is all about TEAM. Raising as many of my team members as possible to a stable, full-time income (meaning an income of at least $5,000 per month, click here if you want to learn more about this), and investing in hiring a team to help me with some of the admin tasks associated with this side of my business.

On the other side of my business is my Brand, Build, Blog online course. This is my baby, and I invested in a $10,000 US mastermind to scale this business in 2019. My ultimate goal is to make $10,000 a month from this course (by the end of 2020), with a shorter term goal of making $3,000 a month in ongoing, evergreen sales by the end of 2019, along with 2 launches at $20,000 or more.

In total, my goal for BBB sales this year is $67,500, with $4,500 being donated to charity through those sales. For more on what I plan on using this online course income for (hint: paying off our $190K mortgage in 3 years), along with how I plan to give back in a bigger way, keep reading.

Expenses

If I just had a simple network marketing business with doTERRA that didn’t include blogging, newsletters, a website, or basically anything else that I use for marketing, I could probably get by with about $500 a month of business expenses.

*That number includes my required monthly order with doTERRA that qualifies me to collect commissions.

BUT I already had an online business before doTERRA, and my blog and website are a huge reason why my business continues to grow.

My business is definitely way more advanced than it was 5 years ago, as I now have content upgrades on my blog posts, online funnels, and various other methods of growing my business on autopilot.

Truly, a lot of it grows whether I’m actively showing up or not. For example, I took a lot of time off in December while I wrapped my head around what I wanted my business to look like in 2019, as well to digest some major news from a friend and business partner.

From December 14th to the 30th, I was non-existent on Instagram, but my Facebook and Pinterest kept running using hands-off systems. Despite me not being active AND it was Christmas, I still added 29 people to my email list and had 2 sales of my course totalling $1,194 of income. Not too shabby.

All that to say that it costs money for those systems to be running behind the scenes, totalling about $1,400 to $1,800 a month Canadian. Most of my systems charge in US dollars, so if I were in the US, my monthly operating costs would be more like $1,000 to $1,250.

These monthly expenses includes:

- my monthly doTERRA order required to collect commissions (but I love their stuff so much, I’d probably be buying it anyways)
- ConvertKit email software (more info over here)
- Website platform (I use Squarespace, more info over here)
- Design programs like Photoshop and Canva
- Software that runs my online course, including checkout software, that let’s me add discounts that are time sensitive, and the Teachable course hosting platform
- Stock photos for Instagram and social media planning and scheduling apps, like Planoly (for Instagram), SmarterQueue (for Facebook), and Tailwind (for Pinterest)
- Random software that I use on the regular, like Dropbox, Calendly, and Zoom

So that sounds like a lot, of course, but when I first started, it was just my website hosting platform and the free version of MailChimp. I forget how far I’ve come in 11 years of business (yes, I’ve been in business for 11 years!).

What was new this year

First off, this was my first entire year working with a bookkeeper, and let me tell you that it’s ah-may-zing. I submit my sales tax (HST here in Ontario) to the government on a quarterly basis, and every 3 months when that reminder came up for me to do my bookkeeping, I would literally say ‘UGH’ out loud with utter contempt.

I. hate. bookkeeping, and I did it myself for the first 9 years of my business using this free tracker here.

So, much like when I hit Gold in doTERRA and hired a cleaning lady, I figured that since I was now a Diamond, I could afford to hire out my bookkeeping.

What you need to know about me is that I’m one of the cheapest people ever, and I would rather do something myself than pay someone else to do it. Unless I dread doing those things so much that my mental anguish makes it worth it to hire out. This was me with my bookkeeping.

If you run a doTERRA or online business in Canada, my bookkeeper is the BEST and works completely digitally (tell him I sent you, I get a referral gift!). This means that I don’t have to mail him receipts, it’s all done virtually. Scott has set me up with several systems for making sure my receipts and expenses are correct that takes way less time than manually inputting them, and he even pays my sales tax for me on my behalf. His system is fantastic and I can’t tell you how good it feels to get all my bookkeeping off my plate.

In November, I made the decision to invest in a high level mastermind to scale Brand, Build, Blog (which cost $13,428.20 after the US to Canadian exchange rate, holy f@#K), and I paid cash for it with the profits I made from my launch in October.

I know you’re all going to ask, so click here to see the mastermind I’m in (which is SO kick ass, by the way). This mastermind is just for business owners who either want to scale their online course OR have a successful 6 figure service based business but wants to create a course.

Back in the day, I would have gone into debt to pay for something like this, but I’m just not into that anymore. I don’t want to be stuck with payments, and I’d rather allocate funds from somewhere else to pay for it with cash. You’ll see that trend continue with my goals for 2019 and 2020, outlined below.

Part of scaling my course involved adding several more complicated pieces of software with a higher price tag than I’m used to (after exchange rates, about $140 per month for one and $50 for other), but I decided that if I was going to scale this, and if I really wanted to design a system that could take me to $10,000 in course sales a month, that I wasn’t going to waste my time by piecing together other cheaper software systems.

 

If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it right.

 

That software, that I only set up at the beginning of December, directly resulted in the $1,194 in sales less than 2 weeks later, so it’s totally worth it. Now that it’s set up, I just have to get more traffic and draw more attention to my freebies for the course, and the rest takes care of itself. How dreamy for this introvert!

What’S COMING THIS YEAR

My personal word for the year is nourish, but my business word is team, both in my doTERRA business and my online course business. By the end of 2019, I won’t be a solopreneur anymore, but will be the CEO of my business with a team supporting me.

This change is completely necessary, I’m at the ceiling of what income I can generate on my own without causing me to go insane, literally and figuratively.

Everyone dreams of a 6 figure business, but no one tells you that it’s almost harder being at 6 figures by yourself than it is actually starting your business! It’s because at 6 figures, there are so many moving parts to your business, and it’s hard to keep them all straight.

Not only that, but when I was just starting out, I only had to worry about myself. My schedule, my commitments, my passions and projects that I wanted to create. There was a lot more room for experimentation. Now, before I think about anything new to grow my business, I have to think is it taking time away from supporting the 6,500+ customers in my doTERRA business? The 30 or so people who I’m personally mentoring? The people who are my support team who depend on the income I’m paying them, so I have to keep making enough income so I can keep paying them? Do you see how this can easily spiral out of control, and feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders?

I had to admit that I can’t do it alone anymore, so I’m hiring help to get various tasks off my plate to make more room and time for major income generating ones.

In the first quarter of 2019, I’ll be hiring 2 very part time assistants with 2 different task lists, and possibly a 3rd with graphic design skills. And I’m sure that’s just the start.

What am I going to do with all my newly found time (or maybe I should call it newly found bought time, LOL)? My goal is to be interviewed on a minimum of 2 podcasts each month to spread the word about Brand, Build, Blog, as well as several joint venture webinar projects. My content converts well, I just need to get more eyes on it! I guess you could say in 2019 I’m getting more visible, which scares the crap out of me but I know is necessary.

On the personal side, hiring a team will allow me to try my greatest experiment of all time for this workaholic:

 

Working only 5 hours a day, 5 days a week.

 

I’ve wanted to do this for YEARS, but my tasks and projects just kept piling up, and I work more than 40 hours a week (50-60 when I did doTERRA’s Diamond Club).

No. more. My mind and body are screaming for sustainable growth, growth that creates TRUE wealth because it doesn’t kill me in the process. What a concept right?

I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about this attempt at work/life balance when I get my team hired and trained, but until then, I won’t be starting to work until 10 am everyday. That morning time will be guarded with an iron fist so that I can read, relax, eat in peace after getting Aleks to school, and overall do whatever I want.

So major project #1 is hiring a team so I can work less but make more money, and major project #2 is …

 

A design and Squarespace website template shop is coming Summer 2019!

 

I’ve wanted to do this for at least a year now, and it’s finally happening! Many of you ask if I can design your website, and doing this just doesn’t interest me. I put ALL of myself into my websites, and the thought of doing that month after month for other people feels super draining (which is exactly how I felt when I worked 1-1 with nutrition clients).

Plus, at what I would charge to do this, it would be out of most people’s budget, and I’d be back to exchanging hours for money in a completely unscalable way.

There are still many details to be worked out, but essentially this design shop will provide everything you need to have a beautiful, cohesive brand and website, including stock images, social media graphics, and Squarespace templates that you can customize.

I’m SO EXCITED to do this, I wish I could do it now, but there are other adult things I should do first to build a solid foundation. Le sigh, why I gotta be all responsible and sh!t?!

That leaves major project #3, which is hitting Blue Diamond in doTERRA (only 2% of business builders achieve this). I’ve been sitting at a Diamond rank for almost 2 years now, and it’s time. I’ve got the right people who are my dream builders in the right spots, we just need to give it time to grow.

I’ll be investing heavily into training for my team to help them get there, but, like I already shared, it’s my goal to help build as many people on my team to a stable, full-time income by the end of 2019 by empowering them to get there themselves.

 

If you’re interested in being one of these people and looking at the incredible business opportunity that doTERRA provides, click here to learn more.

 

*if you’re already on another team, please don’t ask about switching. That’s no bueno, and I no longer accept transfers from other teams. Bloom where you’re planted! doTERRA has some incredible resources (click here) to help you build your business no matter who your upline is.

Cash Flow & Debt Repayment

Most of you are probably wondering what one does with $200,000 worth of income (which, remember, is actually about $120,000 after all my business expenses)? I know I couldn’t even wrap my head around that when I used to hear of people having $10,000, $20,000, or even $50,000 months. Like, that’s what some people make in an entire year!

Of course, just like anything else, I have a system for my cash flow (insert laugh from anyone who knows me here), but it’s a simple system that keeps me on track and makes sure all my biggest bills and expenses are covered, both personally and professionally.

 

You see, cash flow is king.

It’s not just about your revenue, but profit and cash flow.

 

To clarify:

- revenue = how much income you can generate
- profit = how much you get to keep after your expenses
- cash flow = how much cash comes into your business and when, which will determine how much cash is available at any given time when you’ll need it (so you don’t always have to go into debt to pay for things)

For example, let’s say you sell online courses, and launch twice a year. Your launches generate $50,000 in income (yay, a full time income!), but that income is coming in ONLY during 2 specific and short time periods, and has to last you the rest of the year in between (well that’s stressful!). If you spent your entire income from one launch on a car, how are you going to pay for your ongoing, monthly expenses before your next launch? That’s the power of cash flow.

Below you’ll see how I break down my income so that I have money set aside for specific needs and projects. Note that these numbers are based off of my GROSS income, which is my income before my expenses are taken off. This means that my totals are overestimated, especially in certain categories, but I use those as large savings accounts.

These numbers are also based on JUST my doTERRA income, until my Brand, Build, Blog monthly income exceeds my extra expenses that I’m now incurring to scale the program and hire a team. More on that below.

I promise that this will make sense once you check out what I set aside.

When I was just starting out, here was the breakdown that I started with:

20% taxes
10% travel and self development
5% team

TOTAL = 35%

Each of these amounts goes into a separate, basic savings account, which are free at most financial institutions. You can have as many accounts as you want! I rename those accounts in my online banking so I know exactly what they’re for and don’t get confused. Like this:

 
Behind the scenes of a $200,000 health business | Ashley Srokosz | Nutrition business
 

These accounts are simply a place to park that money so I don’t see it in my chequing account, which triggers me to think that it’s money I can spend. I also have a separate account for my HST, which I have to pay every 3 months, since that’s not money that’s mine to spend in the first place, but to be passed back to the government.

You can change these percentages around to work for your business and life. For example, maybe you want to forgo the 5% for your team (especially if you’re a soloprenuer) and put that towards hiring help. In the beginning, let’s say you’re making $1,000 a month, that works out to $50 a month for hiring help. That might be one task you can hire out, like grocery delivery or some extra meals prepped and frozen for quick dinners.

As you make more, that 5% will get bigger and bigger.

At $3,000 a month, 5% will equal $150, which was about the income level where I hired a bi-weekly cleaning lady for that cost.

At $5,000 a month, 5% will equal $250, which is enough to hire a part time Virtual Assistant.

The point is that the money is set aside, and it doesn’t feel like as much of a burden to pay for those services and support that will result in even more business growth.

Also note, I started putting 10% aside right away for travel and self development because when I was just starting my doTERRA business I wasn’t making a ton, but important events like the annual global convention in Utah cost around $1,500 to $2,000, including plane tickets, hotels, and meals. Again, if I had that money already set aside, I felt so much more relaxed about taking that trip instead of putting it on credit.

If you don’t have a network marketing business, this 10% could be set aside for traveling to in-person conferences, investing in masterminds, or paying for online courses.

Personally, any extra I had leftover after paying for travel to attend doTERRA’s in person events, I’d invest into online courses to learn specific skills to grow my business even more, especially about social media like Instagram or Pinterest.

Click here to learn about the 5 courses I’ve taken and recommend, just know that it’s an older post and I haven’t updated it yet to reflect the latest and greatest courses. B-School is still on the list along with the Lucky Bitch money bootcamp.

My current breakdown for things I set aside from my cashflow is:

25% taxes
4% travel and self development
3% team training and gifts
3% hiring help

TOTAL = 35%

Here’s what I do within each of those categories, especially when it comes to paying off debt:

25% = TAXES

Right off the top, 25% of my total monthly income from doTERRA goes into a separate savings account for my annual income taxes. Up until May of 2018, I used to set aside 20%, but since I’m making more, I increased it this year.

25% seems like a very low percentage for the income bracket that I’m in, but when you factor in my business expenses (which last year ate up 40% of my income), that 25% of my gross income works out to something more like 41-42% of my net income (which is the income that I actually pay income taxes 0n).

If this math is over your head, don’t worry about it. Just know that in previous years, I had enough saved at the end of the year to pay my annual income taxes almost to the dollar.

In my lowest income month, I deposited just under $2,200 to this account, and my highest was $5,498.76.

As of Dec 31st, 2018, I have $36,988.30 set aside in my savings account called “Income tax”. I don’t take it out, ever, and the only time I ever would is if we had an incredible emergency on a scale that I can’t even imagine.

That seems like SO much to pay to the government, and it is, but the more I pay to them, the more I’m earning, so I see it as a badge of honour. Plus, I love seeing the bank teller’s face as I pay that much out of a plain savings account.

If I wanted to get really nit picky, I should have been investing that money over the year in a high interest account of some kind, or even a short term GIC, but I just can’t be bothered to make a few extra dollars in interest income … which would then be taxed anyways.

Since I’m taking the money out within a year, it doesn’t make sense to park it in a tax free savings account either, so a Plain Jane savings account it is. I’m also a notoriously conservative investor, and somewhat risk averse, so while others would want to put that money to work, it’s just not in my comfort zone to do that.

After I get my income tax bill this year, I might have to pay extra on top of that OR have some extra leftover. If I do, I’ll probably do something boring, like pay off part of my car loan (which frees up even more monthly cashflow) or put it in my RRSP (retirement savings plan in Canada).

P.S. does it seem like I know a lot about banking? The last corporate job I had, that I never went back to after my son was born, was a Financial Services Representative at a major Canadian bank, so it was my job to do investments, mortgages, loans, and personal banking for customers.

4% = Travel & self development

Like I shared above, this amount used to be 10%. Travelling, and especially plane travel in Canada, can be expensive! However, in 2018 I didn’t do as much travelling as I had done in previous years, and I ended up with literally thousands of extra dollars in this account that could have been spent on other things (especially the things that could have made my life easier, like hiring more help, but more on that below).

I use this for any and all travel, including everything from local travel to education nights only an hour away to planning a 24 hour road trip to visit one of my growing doTERRA teams in the US.

The money in this account gets transferred monthly, and ranged from a few hundred to $1,000+ each month, which quickly adds up.

After I get home from a trip, I add up all the expenses from that trip including gas, parking, food, hotels, plane tickets, and any other miscellaneous costs. Then I do one big transfer from this travel account to my credit card, and voila … feels like a free trip!

Since I have such regular income going into that account, the balance adds up quickly. After I travel to a large event, and transfer the expenses over to cover it, I can get a sense of how much extra I have in that account. If I have my eye on some training (usually an online course) to teach me a skill that I want to learn more about, I take that cash out of this account, which is why I call it my travel AND self development account.

If you have an assistant in your business who you want to do certain tasks but you don’t know enough about it to teach them, why not pay for your assistant to complete a new course instead?

This is how I started using Trello! I didn’t think I had the time to learn how to use it, so my assistant went through a quick course on it. As she started using it, I realized how amazing the program was, so I then went through the course … and now I use Trello almost every day in my business. Click here for a quick intro on Trello, and for info on the course that I took.

3% = team training & gifts

Since I run a network marketing business, I now have a team of business builders under me. As they build their business, my business grows, too.

 

This is the ultimate beauty of network marketing:

A rising tide lifts all boats.

 

So if I want my business to grow faster, I can’t go wrong with investing in training for my TEAM. This might be in the form of paying someone else to mentor them in certain skills OR it might involve throwing a large, in-person team training, with associated expenses like renting a hall, lunch, drinks, handouts, etc. That’s what this account is for.

I also mail gifts to members of our team each month who hit new levels in their business, so this account also covers those gifts (ranging from $10 to $100 for higher achievements), as well as the shipping. In Canada, shipping is expensive, and it costs the same for me to ship a package to the next city over as it does for me to mail a sample package to Europe. I kid you not.

I also offer weekly team education for our doTERRA customers in a large Facebook group, and do monthly giveaways if they participate in that training. I usually have enough oils on hand to do those giveaways, but if not, those expenses come out of this account as well.

It feels good to send gifts to my team (and they LOVE IT) without going into to debt or having an unexpected hit to my expenses that month.

3% = hiring help

This is a new category for me this year, and frankly, one that should have been there all along. Like I shared already, I hired a bi-weekly cleaning lady for our home at about $3,000 of monthly income, and hired out my bookkeeping in late 2017 after I started consistently hitting about $7,000 of monthly income.

In 2018, my monthly average income was $16,641.03 … and I didn’t hire any more help. As a result, I spent the last 4 months of the year feeling like I was literally drowning in work. Seriously, there were some days that I felt like I couldn’t breathe because I had so much work to do and not enough time to do it all.

This year, under the guidance of my business word of ‘team’, I’m hiring at least 2 assistants, possibly a third one, as well as have already had a meeting with someone to hire out help on a new project coming very soon.

I realized in early December of last year that I had a decision to make in my business:

- keep working the way that I was, possibly get admitted into an insane asylum, and never make more money (and possibly even less with all the stress I was under affecting my health)

OR

- hire a few people for a total of less than $500 a month … and get my life back, start enjoying work again, and be able to make more income because I could use my time for the really important business building activities.

From what I just wrote, the answer would seem obvious, right? But it didn’t seem that way to me.

I had 2 local assistants in the past, and it never worked out. I had no idea how to hire people or what to look for, and I didn’t pay enough to bring people on board with the really serious skills I needed them to have to keep up with the work I was asking them to do. I cheaped out, and so they didn’t work out. Major lesson learned.

I also realized that it would be very hard, almost impossible really, to find one single person with all the skills I needed. So I split the requirements into 2 different jobs, and problem solved!

As I write this, my first VA job posting is up, and I have 20+ AMAZING applicants who are blowing me away with their qualifications. I’m super excited for what the next few months are going to bring.

 

So let this be a lesson to you:

start putting even a small fraction of your income aside to hire help from the very beginning.

 

You’ll more than likely build your business faster, but you’ll also build it in a way that’s more sustainable for your schedule AND for your own health. You can’t build your business if you’re dead, and I was killing myself with my business. Don’t do the same thing.

Brand, build, blog income

When I asked the question on Instagram of what my followers wanted to know about managing money, the most requested topic was about paying back debt. A poll in late 2017 here in Canada showed that 54% of people had consumer debt, meaning debt from buying plain old stuff, and that average debt was $15,473 (12% of Canadians shared that they have over $25,000 in consumer debt).

But wait, you want to own a house too, right? 16% of Canadians have a mortgage, with the average amount owing at $198,781.

And don’t forget that you might want or need to own a car, and you’ll most likely need a car loan for that, too.

And the last big one: your student debt. 67% of post-secondary graduates have an average student debt owing of $22,084, which is peanuts compared to the student debt in the US.

Debt, UGH. As an ex-personal banker, I saw the effect of it every single day at my job. A 70 year old man having to work a minimum wage job at Home Depot to pay $12,000 in back taxes on his house (and still keep up their twice yearly cruise vacations … I KID YOU NOT). A teacher making $100,000 a year having to get a consolidation loan because she couldn’t afford to make all her monthly payments. Young parents cashing in retirement savings to buy a house that, in my opinion, was well over what they could afford with their cashflow, but the bank was giving them a huge mortgage, so why not?!

The reality is that most of you probably have debt, and I hope that most of you want to pay it off. Debt is robbing you of your freedom.

Imagine the life you could have if you weren’t saddled with your $500 car payment, $700 student loan payment, and $1,500 mortgage payment. That totals $2,700 a month, and you haven’t even factored in utilities, groceries, insurance, cell phone bills, or anything else fun. You’re probably looking at $3,000 to $5,000 a month JUST TO LIVE.

 

How would it feel to not have those payments, and therefore not have to work as hard because you have less to pay off?!

What would you do with all that extra time and money?!

 

My strategy for paying off debt is this: work on a secondary source of income that just goes to paying off debt. This is what my Brand, Build, Blog income is to me.

My doTERRA income more than covers our families day-to-day living expenses, especially because my husband also works in his own business and has an income as well. We have extra leftover for home improvements and travel, as well as debt repayment if we wanted to.

But I didn’t want to have to pay back debt out of my doTERRA income, that’s my money to live the life that I want. But I still want to pay back our new mortgage by the end of 2020 (just less than 2 years from writing this post) … so I’m scaling my Brand, Build, Blog course to provide that income.

Anything over and above the extra expenses I have from scaling my course (2 additional pieces of software, hiring help so I can grow it faster) will all go to paying down debt.

I’m choosing to start with my car loan, which is only about 1.5 years old. My old car (which I paid off early in 2016) was starting to require many repairs, and it didn’t have AC. I was already a Diamond in doTERRA having $12,000 months, and I figured if I wanted a car with air conditioning, that wasn’t an unreasonable request! I didn’t buy brand new (I’ve never owned a brand new car in my entire life), but I still owe just over $23,000.

My goal is that my first launch in spring 2019 make enough that I can pay off my car loan in one huge payment.

That is the last piece of non-mortgage debt that we have, so then it’s onto paying off our house! Currently we owe $187,384.27, and can make a lump sump payment totalling $28,680 without a penalty in 2019 (did you know that banks charge you a penalty fee if you pay our mortgage off in the middle of a term?).

Since my goal is $67,500 of income from Brand, Build, Blog, I should have enough left over to make that huge payment by myself. I’m envisioning how much of a superwoman I’m going to feel like that day.

That means I have 1 year after that (all of 2020) to make the rest of the payments, and if I’m able to make $10,000 a month from BBB, I’ll just about make it. Even if it takes another 6 months or a year after that, I would have still paid off our $191,000 mortgage in just over 3 years.

I realize that yes, this plan sounds crazy, and yes, financial planners will tell me it’s stupid to pay off our mortgage when I could be investing that money instead, but it hit me late last year that when I have no financial goals, I don’t push very hard in my business.

I lose my focus because, frankly, I don’t care if I have a huge walk-in closet full of clothes, and I don’t want to travel the world (yet, hopefully I’ll get over my fear of travel, because I have a deep, guttural need to experience certain places). I don’t need to drive a super fancy car (although having heated seats and bluetooth is now a requirement for me), and maybe we’ll have a cottage or second house someday, but that isn’t in our plan right now.

What I would like to do, after I pay off the mortgage, is to take that repayment cashflow and put it into a major renovation on the back of our house that more than likely will cost $200,000-$300,000 (I have very expensive taste, ask all my friends). I want to pay for that with cash, and with how long a renovation of that scale takes, we’re looking at a 2 year timeline, anyways, which gives me all the time I’ll need to save up for it.

Other than our house, what else is important to me is starting to give back in a bigger way, so that brings us to the last category of managing my money:

Giving Back & Sustainability

As I make more income and can afford the luxuries that many can’t, it’s starting to become so transparent to me that it’s my responsibility to:

1) Give back to charities that will empower others to rise up (the cliche hand up, not hand out); and

2) Start making more sustainable choices with my purchases in an effort to raise the health and consciousness of the planet.

These are 2 goals of mine that have been incubating for years, and have needed the time for me to rise to a new level in my income so that I can affect change in a much bigger way.

I don’t want a second house, and I don’t want to move into a larger house. One day I’d love to build a custom, environmentally friendly house, but I predict that won’t be for at least 10-15 years. I don’t love extravagant vacations, and while I have a penchant for expensive, one-of-a-kind design choices, especially vintage, teak, mid-century modern furniture, I’m pretty cheap otherwise.

Going forward, you’ll see me giving a portion of my course launches to charity (I’m thinking 10%, so about $50 from each sale, and I don’t know exactly what charities yet), and you can expect for me to be 100% transparent with who I choose to support. This should total about $4,500 if my launches go according to plan!

This past year I’ve been making changes with my purchases anyways as I move towards a more sustainable environmental footprint, so I’ll be continuing that.

We’ve already:

- purchased an at home nut milk maker to reduce all the packaging we were going through with store bought almond milk
- using beeswax food wrap (we have ones from both Abeego and a local small business, and they’re amazing for cheese!)
- using reusable cloth “paper towels”
- environmentally friendly and compostable feminine hygiene products (although I made that change years ago). I tried a silicone menstrual cup, it just wasn’t for me.

I want to take this further by purchasing fabric make up remover pads (so I don’t have to buy the cotton ones that just get thrown out), and would love to know if there’s an environmentally friendly alternative to Kleenex that isn’t disgusting, like when you pull out a used handkerchief to blow your nose (which I still have and use when we’re sick, by the way!).

I’d also like to start purchasing compostable garbage bags as well as more sustainable toilet paper (made from bamboo or another material, I just hope it doesn’t scratch our asses up! Or maybe we should just switch to bidets …).

I’m putting a focus on making fashion choices purchased from companies with ethical, sustainable missions and values, and/or local small businesses. I don’t have a huge wardrobe, and tend to wear the same clothes for years before I get rid of them, but I’ll be concentrating even more on the reasons I feel like shopping.

Am I just shopping to make myself feel better? For stress relief? If yes, I’m going to try to replace that habit with something else, even though I don’t shop as much as I think the average person does.

The next biggest environmental waste is our food, and my husband and I want to get back to our summer CSA box, and purchasing more local veggies and fruits that aren’t wrapped in plastic for God knows what freaking reason. Is it not possible to purchase mini cucumbers WITHOUT the styrofoam back and plastic wrap? Do my organic peppers HAVE to be in their own plastic bag? Like, COME ON, grocery stores! This is ridiculous.

Unless people like me get all fired up about it, nothing will change. My choice will be to figure out how I can support a local farmer’s market in a smaller way in 2019 (my municipality is mostly agricultural but we don’t have one, which is so sad!), while planning on making more time for this sort of project in 2020 as I hired more help in my business and free up more time.

We’ve purchased meat directly from local, organic farmers in the past, and we’ll continue to do so, but if we need some extra, I’m planning on purchasing it from my local butcher shop instead of the grocery store. It’s one extra stop, but they wrap their meat in paper instead of plastic, and it’s just one more way to support small businesses and stimulate our local economy,

I’d love for there to be an organic butcher in my city, but the closest one is at least an hour away. One day!

Any other projects I’ll strive to source as much locally and sustainably as possible. For example, we’re in the midst of a mudroom/laundry room reno, and I’m getting a bench made from a local carpenter with reclaimed wood and environmentally and health friendly finishes. We’ve also purchased the most environmentally friendly washer and dryer set from a local business (and not a big box store) to spread our spending dollars farther. SO excited to share this with you!


So there you have it, more than you ever wanted to know about managing a $200,000 business. I sincerely hope that you got a few nuggets from this article, and please let me know, either in the comments below or on Instagram, if you like when I talk about money.

But you’re not just reading this because you wanted to hear my story …

 

you’re here because you’re ready to take control of your OWN money!

 

It all starts with setting some goals for yourself, and properly managing what you are bringing in. Of course I have a free video training for you, plus a copy of my exact simple system that I use every month for my own money!

Behind the scenes of a $200,000 health business | Ashley Srokosz | Nutrition business

This short video training includes:

- how to plan for major household projects and renovations
- how you can breakdown your major yearly goals into doable monthly mini-goals (you’ll see how I broke down my huge goal this of $67,500 of sales of my BBB course!)
- how to track your monthly income and cashflow so you don’t forget anything

 

Just fill in your info to get the “manage your money, honey” video training + my personal money system!

 
 

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