WE CAN'T KEEP THIS SECRET ANYMORE

This blog post is my favorite all time post!! I've erased and rewritten this post over and over. This post so personal to me but such a big accomplishment for Andrew and I. So here it goes....

The life before having babies….

Andrew and I are not big spenders. We live a very simple life, no glitz and no glam. But what we dreamt about retiring early and one day living the life that we want. We want travel more, spend more time with our kids, and whatever the heck our hearts desire. The how to do it was what we didn’t know how to do. We’ve both read many financials books and followed many bloggers to help us figure it out, but we were still unsuccessful coming up with a life game plan. 

Fast forward….we had our son…

We created our own plan to pay our debt down, but we had a baby and I was on maternity leave so we needed the money…well we thought we needed all of the money Andrew was bringing home to survive. That means there is no money left over to pay down our debt.

One day during my maternity leave, I decided to calculate how much we needed to survive and how much we can really put towards our debt. I created this spreadsheet that didn’t make sense, but it was sort of put us in the right direction. 

At that time I was reading a lot of photography bloggers, because I was learning how to build my own photography business. They kept talking about building a business debt free and paying cash for their equipment. How did they do this? They were all following this guy name Dave Ramsey. So I went onto Amazon, purchased Dave Ramsey The total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

We finally got some guidance!!

We both agreed that for the next 2 years we were going to live minimal, give up trips, limit eating out, and really focus on our debt. We both did not want to be hustling when we were 50 or 60 years old. We wanted to change the way our son makes his financial decisions. Dave Ramsey said, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”

Buckled down and we focused! 

Magic happens my friends!! It truly does when you set a goal and you just freakin go for it. Andrew and I paid off $114,000 in debt in two years. Yes you heard me, we paid of $114,000!! 

No more school loans. 

No more credit card debt. 

No more car loans. 

We felt like we lifted Mount Everest off our shoulder. 

Now we have budgets for doing the things we want to do.

We pay things in cash. 

Life has been amazing and I know it will only get better. 

So yes..I GOT 99 PROBLEMS, BUT A DEBT AIN'T ONE!! 

I truly hope this inspires you that you debt does not have to be part of your life formula to living the life you want and doing what you're passionate about. You can pay everything cash!! 

If you have friends, clients, or colleagues, who is drowning in debt and does not see the light, please share this post with them. 

Please comment below if you found this post helpful or have any questions. I'm here for you!! 

xo, 

Sheng 

 

 

 

RUNNING A BUSINESS IS NOT GOOD FOR YOUR MARRIAGE

I asked her if she really wanted to run her own photography business. She responded, “I do, but I’m scared.” We kept digging deep into her fears. She confessed and told me that the reason for her divorce was because her ex-husband started a business and he put 100% focus on his business. They grew apart and eventually it lead to divorce. She didn’t want to end up in the same situation if she started her own business. "It was the business that ruined my marriage."

I took a deep breath before I answered her because I wanted to make sure whatever I said offered clarity. This was my response to her…

I told her that she wouldn’t end up in the same situation again because she's been through the hurt and pain. It wasn't the business that hurt her marriage, it was her ex-husband. His priority wasn't her and their marriage. His priority was the business and hunger for success. 

I recommended that when she start her business to define what her priorities were before starting her photography business. Your business should not be the #1 priority. I shared with her my priority list, which is..

  1. Myself
  2. My Marriage
  3. My Family
  4. My Business 

When the first three priorities are not being taken care of, I can't move forward in creating a healthy business that truly serve my clients. We ended our call with me wishing her to let go of the fear that stemmed from her past experience because it will only deter her from doing what her heart keeps pulling her to do.  

If you have friends or colleagues who is letting past experiences control their decisions to live the life they want, please share this post. 

Past experiences are to make us wiser and smarter not hold us back! So let today is your day to seize it and find the person you're supposed to be. 

xo,

Sheng 

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SETTING YOUR BOUNDARIES

It was 5 years ago when the idea of starting my own photography business came to fruition.

Family events, catching up with friends, taking care of my little growing families, working out, finding time for myself, finding time to spend with my husband….. the list goes on and on and on.

Drained. Tired. Overwhelmed. Wishing there was more time in a day to do everything.

Reality is this there are only 24 hours in a day and 7-8 hours are already used for sleeping.

Time felt limited. 

How the heck was my photography business going to grow?

 I didn’t want to disappoint my family by not attending their events. I didn’t want to go MIA with my friends. I wanted to be present as a mom and a wife.

How was I going to do all of this?

Andrew and I decided that if we wanted to grow my photography business we needed to set boundaries.

Setting boundaries…

We talked to our friends and family about our current situation. We told them what we’re doing, what we can commit to, what we’re limiting, and changes we will be making.

What happened?

They understood. They said they won’t love us less and support us in creating the life we wanted. They helped take care of my son when we were shooting weddings and even when we needed time to catch up on work. 

You're probably thinking... Sheng that's great for you that your family responded so well. That's not the case for me! I get it, everyone's situation is different. Not all your friends and family members will be supportive and that's something you need to expect. But what I want you to understand is that you are setting the boundaries. You're telling them, "Hey this is what I give if you ask me something." You're setting the expectations. 

My recommendations when your setting your boundaries:

  • Estimate how much time you need work on projects for your business. I am talking about work that you truly need to get done so you will be satisfied and your business will flourish. 

  • Write down what you can truly commit to. Not just committing 10% to, but 100% to if your time is requested.

  • Say no when you know you will be able to be there. Don't say yes and cancel at the last minute, because that is just plain rude. It's better to say you can't make it and if you can make it later then show up. 

  • How much you give to others is how much they will give to you. For example,  you can't be completely involved in  your business and ignore the world and when you need something you expect your friends and family to show up. Remember to show them that they are still important even thought you're busy by making time to catch up with them, telling them how much you appreciate them.

Life is not all about work, include some fun (e.g. wine, movie nights, go out of town for the weekend). You don't want to die knowing all you did was worked your entire life. 

If you have friends or colleagues who could use a little help setting boundaries, please share this post. 

Keep hustling and have fun!!

xo, 

Sheng 

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