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Carla Titus shares the realities of running a profitable business from home and how she and her husband created a system that fits their goals and family life!
The Realities of Starting a Side Hustle from Home
Nowadays it’s become more common for couples and families to diversify their income.
Whether it’s because they looking to knock out some debt, save up for a house or another goal, or they want to pivot their career, couples are looking at side hustles.
We’ve had several episodes about the essentials of starting a side business, but one of the biggest struggles many have is sustaining it.
Whether it’s working around your family or day job, the reality is you only have so much time. How do you make it work? How can you start and build a business?
Carla Titus is on the show today to share her expertise and her story.
She is the CEO of Wealth and Worth where she uses her over ten years of corporate financial planning, analysis, strategy, and startup CFO experience to help entrepreneurs take control of their finances and level up their business.
In this episode we’ll get into:
- Finding not that balance, but the flow between family and your side hustle
- When to outsource
- how to get the pricing right – many entrepreneurs struggle with this
Hope you enjoy!
Resources for Launching a Side Hustle
Here are some fantastic resources to check out:
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
- 5 Days to $5K
- Wealth & Worth Within
- How to Diversify Your Income with Side Hustles
- Being Productive as a Work from Home Parent
Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!
Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union. If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today!
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Launching a Profitable Side Hustle
ElleMartinez: If– you've been online for any amount of time, chances are, you've seen those ads about how easy it is to launch a business from home with only a few hours a week, earning incredible income. And it sounds great, especially if you have a nine to five job that's draining you, but it's not the reality.
It does take time to set things up. Besides the admin part of the job, you also have to do some planning about the core services or products you're going to offer. You have to decide on pricing and of course you need time to find clients.
The challenge though, is working that in, when you already have a day job and you have a family. How do you find a sustainable schedule to fit what you need?
Typical advice that's given is to find that balance, but Carla, think that doesn't accurately reflect the reality of entrepreneurship and have you chasing this idealized, but unrealistic goal.
CarlaTitus: I think that as a parent and entrepreneur worker, you know, we have. The importance so many directions, and we're being asked to prioritize so many areas of our life. And it really is up to us to decide what is priority today and tomorrow and the next day, because there is no such thing as balance.
I call it harmony, right? When you're really in a place where you feel you're dedicating that time and effort and attention to the things that matter in that moment, then you in harmony with yourself and your family and everyone, that's trying to get your attention and it's never perfect. Right? You strive to be better.
You got to just really decide. Okay; today the kids stick so I'm going to stay home and prioritize the kid right. Tomorrow my business needs more attention so I'm going to dedicate four hours to my business to move it forward. Great. That means you're sacrificing something else, right? So maybe not as much family time maybe it's your day job, that's taking a back seat as far as a career plan and you want to kind of just stay steady and I'll have to move forward. Maybe it is time to push forward in your career and maybe leave your business to be maintained, but nothing to move it forward. Right. So that is really the reality, at least of my life, where I have my day job, you know, nine to five, Monday to Friday.
Then my business as well and then I have my family life. And of course my husband, who is the most important thing to me as well, from our relationship perspective to take care of right. It's a matter of deciding, like, what is that priority right now? Where am I dropping the ball to make sure I'm picking it up and kind of make things work.
ElleMartinez: If you're married, it's really key to keep the conversation line open as you're starting and building your business, because things are going to be shifting and changing and you want to make sure that it's working for both of you.
CarlaTitus: Communication is everything right? Because if your spouse is giving you a hard time about you're working on the business, or you working too hard at work to move your career forward.
Think of it as stages or seasons of life, where, which is a love, what Jillian John's were talks about. Right? It's like in this stage of life, we're going to, you know, work on that career and move it forward. So that means we're going to work more hours at the office, or we're going to sacrifice a little bit of family time in lieu of getting that next promotion.
Maybe it is that you start starting a business and you want to focus your attention there and so you'll put in extra hours and extra time where you can, have it to be able to build that business that you want, that passion that you do go after and make it a reality. Then eventually, maybe that will turn into main thing, maybe you just want to keep it as a side thing, you know, whatever your goal is, you're kind of pushing forward to build it from nothing.
Maybe it is family time. Maybe you're trying to expand your family. Maybe you're trying to, you know, spend more time with them because they're getting the girls so fast and they don't stop. Right. They don't wait. They don't wait for you. So like you want to prioritize that at that time, right. Where you're like, Hey, they're little. I want to enjoy them. You know? Carvana extra family time, because that's important in this stage of life.
Again, that's never going to be the same and every single stage it's going to fluctuate and it's your job to kind of stay fluid and adjust and adapt as we need
That's something that happened with me. Before kids my schedule is a little more flexible working from home. I did it during the day, but now that I have two little ones, I find that the best schedule for me is almost like a split schedule.
So before everyone wakes up, I get up around five in the morning I knock out for a couple hours, the absolute essential things that need to get done that day. And then when the podcast interviews or phone calls with clients. I have that based around my kids' schedule. If there's any loose ends that I need to tie up, I'll finish that up in the evening. I have a little block of time, about 45 minutes to knock that out.
Obviously this exact schedule is not the solution for every parent, but I do believe she'll look at your current situation and examine the natural flow of things. Search out those pockets of time, where you're not interrupted and use them for the critical pieces of your business.
This is something you're going to be constantly evaluating as your schedule keeps shifting. Carla herself had to deal with us as she was growing her business. She saw that her current model needed to shifted a bit so she can commentate her family and professional goals.
CarlaTitus: Last year when I kind of kicked it into high gear, we'll say, cause I founded a business in 2017 and I really wanted to devote a ton of time into it but I also knew that I had a day job that I wasn't going to quit. Unlike other people, like I love my day job so I wasn't looking to leave.
I just was looking to either FastTrack as to financial independence or. Just putting my passions to see if I could earn money doing what I'm good at. Right? As part of like my employability and taking control of that, you never know when a layoff is around the corner and you never know, cause you're not guaranteed a job.
Where if you own your own business, you can control that you can control how much you make. Who you service, how much you charge. So I just wanted to give it a trial to see if I could be successful at that. And then I got so wrapped up into my business that my husband was like, I don't see you anymore.
Like, what's going on? Why are you working so hard on this? We don't need the money. Like you need to stop. I was like, whoa, I can't stop, but let's just talk about. What does it look like? What does it mean for me to work on the business? Maybe we need to set some boundaries around it. And so I wasn't very good at first communicating what my needs were.
Oh, what I was doing or why I was doing it to him. So we sat down and just had the conversation on like, Hey, this is why I'm doing what I'm doing. It's important to me because it revolves around my passion. I really want to help people get ahead in their business by having their business provide for them, not the other way around.
I got the knowledge I needed to and to help entrepreneurs be successful. Getting the business off the ground is no easy task. By the way, I tell people like the easiest thing to do is to start a business. The hardest thing is to maintain it and grow it. And so all that together, you know, I sat down with my husband and said, okay, what would be a way that we can support this?
Me not stress out me know where out and still have family time, still have time for , downtime for myself and make us successful. We settled between five and 10 hours a week is what I would devote to my business, including client work and all things. So then. Oh, my goodness. I need to go find help because I can't do this in five to 10 hours and grow it and skill the way I want to do it.
So I hire a virtual assistant like later last year and I started delegating things to her, know where admin work that I just didn't have time for. So she orders, all my client is she does a load of transcription Taz. She helps me reach out to some people on email. I mean, all the things that during the day, I don't have time to do.
She does for me while I'm at work. And so I can quickly text her and be like, Hey, I need this done. And she knows exactly because we already trained and then she takes care of. It might do my clients. It looks like I am available 24 7 to them. They don't know. They know that I have a day job, but they think I'm available. Right. Because my assistant is doing all the best for me.
And really to them, it's like blind as far as like the level of support I give them because I have someone that's working for me. Doing all the things I'm not able to do during that time of day and then that got down on how much time I needed to devote to the business.
Cause all the admin says we're taken care of. So now I'm down to just client work, which is more like four or five hours a week. I can focus on the top priorities. And so that was a compromise that made my husband happy. It made me happy. Cause I didn't realize how much I was working on the business until he said something.
Cause I mean, it's our baby and we just wanted to grow it and make it successful. And we want to see it like, you know, just. Grow super fast. And you don't even think about how much time you're really spending on it.
So I'm very strategic about the time I do spend on my business also for revenue generating activities, because as the CEO of the business, I need to make sure that my business is making money. To me, that is like the priority number one and then after that, everything else falls. Again, if I'm going to train my time for money in these worth it and then these two have a high impact on my clients. Otherwise I wouldn't do this because it's just, it doesn't make sense.
ElleMartinez: a schedule that allows you to enjoy family time and be able to provide great service to your clients is one piece to building a sustainable business.
The other part is financing. Right. If your income doesn't cover expenses, your time in some profit, you can't keep going. One specific area where entrepreneurs struggle is how to price their services and products, which is something that Carla loves to help them out with.
CarlaTitus: starting out and you have no idea how to do pricing strategy because I get it. Like, I actually had a lot of training in this so to me, Fairly easy.
One is to think about what is that hourly rate you want to take home? So that's like your personal budget. Like what do you need to get paid an hour for you to get out of bed and actually do this work? Let's say that's $50 just for an example, right?
Then you need to take that rate and think about, okay, not only am I paying myself as an employee, but now I am also the employer paying myself as employee. Right? So now I need to cover. Taxes. I need to cover all the health insurance benefits and all the other things that are going to come with the business cause which is called overhead.
And so you want to then take that rate that you decided on, and then you want to, you want to one and a half times it or two and a half times set, just to make sure that you have enough money to cover all the things that you want to. And in the business also, so that you can delegate the past one day to someone or so that you can hire people under you to be able to do that kind of work.
And so that $50 an hour is never going to be enough to cover all that, because if you only charge that, then you need to lower your own personal rate and pay yourself $25 an hour to just break even, or get ahead. So that's one thing that people don't even realize starting out.
That's an easy one to kind of calculate. You just need to set it and then charge accordingly.
ElleMartinez: If you're stressed out about figuring out your pricing strategy, then reaching out to an expert, like Carla can be the way to.
CarlaTitus: Yeah, it was really motivated by passion.
I like you said, I have a really well-paying job. I really didn't need to do it for the money. It wasn't like we're trying to tackle paying off dead. We're actually debt free except the mortgage we're in a really good financial situation. And I have a good paying job with a good career. So you're like, why are you crazy enough to go start a business on top of that? Aren't you busy enough, right being a mom and having a nine to five?
The thing that drove me was this need to help entrepreneurs really gain clarity on their financials. What I was seeing a lot was like you said, they were really good at video editing or they're really good at photography, or they were really good at writing and then they weren't managing the business aspect of their business.
That's where you get in trouble really easily. So cashflow issues were coming about. People were running out of money. People couldn't invest in their businesses. People were in paying themselves. People were not good stewards have their business finances and it's because one, maybe they weren't taught how to do that. They're not professional or proficient at that. They were really good at the photography of the writing and all the other things.
Second, they didn't get into business because they love bookkeeping and they wanted, they couldn't wait to get up every week and do their bookkeeping for their business. That's not what, why they started the business. But it is a huge requirement of a business owner, entrepreneur to be able to do that successfully.
And three, they are just scared by it because they don't understand it. It's not hard once you are explained the concepts and boil it down to the simple processes you have to have in your business to be successful at this. That's what I help entrepreneurs with like stop shying away from it because the problem will become a bigger issue. If you're ignoring it, you will notice that. Because he was going to call your attention when money is not there.
When you want to do the things that you want to do for your business and moving forward and grow it and scale it. The problems compound, the bigger you get. So you might not have cash flows right now. You might be doing really well, but then as your business grows, now, the problems that were initially.
We'll be major later because you hadn't, you never had control over those finances. And so to me, it's critical to have this foundational knowledge, processes and systems in place to help enable you be a better entrepreneur at what you're good at.
I don't want you to spend. 20 hours a week, dealing with your finances. That's the last thing I want you to do, right? Let's get it down to an hour or two a week. That's manageable, ideally an hour. It's my goal with any of the entrepreneurs I work with is to get them from wherever they're at to just one hour a week at the most where the processes and tools are working for them. Then they can have a clear picture of where they're going. They're doing all the things they need to be checking all the boxes on the financial management side. And then they go off to do the bigger things.
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This episode was originally released in March 2020. Show notes have been updated in March 2022.