This past Friday I put on my Grand Rapids Life nametag and attended an Entrepreneur YOU Conference put on by the Michigan Women’s Foundation. It was a great event! There were so many awesome, interesting women there. It was fun running into several of the ladies I had met through GROW and running into a friend of mine from the fitness realm I hadn’t expected to see.
I attended two breakout sessions. One was on Intellectual Property Rights and was completely fascinating. In fact, I told the speaker I wished she had had double the time to speak because it was that good. (More on that session later.) The other session I took was on small business financing.
“But wait,” you say, “GRLife doesn’t have any products!”
“Grand Rapids Life is just a blog. Why would you need small business financing, Dawn?”
It’s true. And let’s be real, this website isn’t exactly paying for itself. I don’t have any products for sale yet. But there are plans in the works – so many plans! And of course, as things get to the point where I can talk about them, I will definitely fill you in. (Or you could subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll make sure subscribers get the inside scoop first.)
Anyway, right now I am heavily in the Research phase of my R&D. But, part of that is researching every aspect of running a business, and as we all know, a big part of that is money. So, I sat in on the financial seminar. The panel was great, and it was interesting how many resources we have in West Michigan if you really go out looking for them.
For now, I am working on my own finances. I use a personal budget fairly regularly, so I started there. I pulled one of my spreadsheets from February of last year, so I had something to compare to. I then tweaked it a bit. I’m working on creating two rough outlines. One that is bare bones – that has the minimum amount I need to live. The other is a more comfortable, “standard” budget. I decided to see how I would do over the next month.
There are fixed expenses and variable expenses. The fixed ones are the same from month to month like a mortgage payment. (Of course, those can be adjusted by refinancing and whatnot, but for now, assume those are the same month to month.) Then there are things like Groceries, Household, Dog care, Self-care, and that fun one, “Misc” which includes one-time expenses I hadn’t thought about, like buying new black shoes for work because the heel fell off my favorite pair. (And I found a really good deal on a very nice brand of shoe.)
Last month I did really well in most categories. I came well under my projections for almost every category. The only area that was high was one I didn’t have a projection for – and that was business expenses. I’m taking classes, attending conferences, paying for this website, things like that. So, I will leave that category open-ended for a few months until I have enough data to set a budget for it.
The other thing I did was work on some debt. I don’t have a lot, but I have some. So, it is well past time to clean that up! I sent my taxes to my accountant in February, which is the earliest I have ever done them. My return was submitted electronically and back to me really quickly. I took part of that and put it in an account for some schooling I am starting in April, and took the rest and dumped in on the debt.
Next step was doing some research on the best credit cards for balance transfers. After reading the reviews, I ended up going with a Discover card. Now I have 0% interest for 14 months. I plan to have it paid off and done with well before then, but I work really, really well with deadlines. So, this will be perfect for me.
My goal is to be completely debt free by the end of summer – or sooner. I also want to have my budgets set up so I know exactly what I need to have coming in each month. Budgets are a bit of a living document, they change as circumstances change, but you can certainly tweak them until they pretty much run themselves. Just a few more goals as I bring GRLIFE to life!