One of my primary goals this year was to make money. And I have.
Granted, I’m not filthy rich – yet – but I have some extra money in my pocket to chase after those extra pursuits that make me feel extra special.
Take Easter. If I compare the extra I have now versus what I had last Easter, I’m doing pretty well for myself. I feel like the sunshine is hitting the right spots in just the right intensity. And I’ll tell you this for free – it’s gratifying to have the money to do what you want, when you want. It really is.
Life is undoubtedly easier and more fulfilling when the money in your pocket gives you choice.
I only wish I could take this positive heart-warming energy, put it in a blender and make a smoothie out of it. So that next time I’m thirsty for inspiration and a push-factor, I’ll drink this smoothie, and get back up and running again.
I’m certain you want to ask, Bett, how have you been making more money?
I’m glad you asked. But I was going to tell you either way. Because I’m that chick that’s all about sharing.
First, it’s been from the extra hours I had in my hands.
I’m something of a freelance writer. I used to write for a handful of publications but this year I chose to focus on writing for Nation Media only. That’s for print, and here online.
I realised towards the end of last year that I had some pockets of time on my schedule that were not being gainfully employed – a loose two hours on Thursday afternoon, three hours on Friday mid-morning, the wee hours of dawn, especially on Saturdays.
I put all these hours together and they added up to about whooping seven hours, that’s a solid day’s work.
I filled up that time in two ways: I got myself this personal finance column online, and I began a side-hustle.
This column takes up the weekday hours, the side-hustle takes up the Saturday hours.
DISCIPLINE AND GOALS
Second, is discipline to beat my goals.
I usually write my goals down at the beginning of the year. GB and I have a meeting to discuss our goals as individuals and as a couple. I draft them during the meeting then I later write them in a Google doc I share with him.
I also do the same with my mentor. Though with my mentor, it’s mostly writing-related goals.
Goals are a roadmap to my year.
I also make sure to have some daily and weekly goals. I write these ones in my notebook.
These ones are immediate things like, ‘Send copy by noon’. Or, ‘Get to your desk by 7am’. And, ‘Publish blog post to Craft It by 2pm’.
Because one of my primary goals was to make money, then most of what I’ve achieved in the quarter as been toward making more money.
This primary goal has me toe the line I’ve drawn for myself, and maintain a level of discipline I haven’t seen since... I honestly don’t know when.
I no longer slack with my deadlines. I’m up by 5am, either to read or to get ready for the day. I’m punctual with my meetings. I spend my workdays more efficiently; I rarely waste time on social media or on YouTube. I’m always on the ground searching for investment opportunities.
There’s a quote I read from Joe Duncan that has stuck with me. Joe Duncan is a business mentor, his Instagram handle is @before5am.
Joe said, “The quality of your life will be greatly impacted by your ability to think ahead of time.”
Don’t you just love that?
I’ve been unwell a couple of times, I know this is my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take a rest. Last week I had a running stomach. A few weeks ago it was a stuffy nose. One time it was an earache (I know, who gets earaches, anyway). Another time it was a headache that regular sleep and hydration couldn’t cure.
Sometimes I listen to my body and rest, other times I ignore it. Because what’s a goal if you don’t break your back trying to reach it?
CHANGE OF ATTITUDE
Third, and this is the most important, is my change of attitude.
I realise this may read abstract but it isn’t.
Here’s a story: Nanny Viv has been having a difficult time in the mornings getting Muna ready for school. (Muna started school in January, and had just turned three, so it only seemed natural that she’d have a not-so-easy transition into her new school routine.)
Anyway, it got to a point, toward the end of the term, when Nanny Viv told me she was considering leaving my house because Muna had become unmanageable. And not just with the tantrums in the morning, but her behaviour and manners in general.
We talked at length – that day, and the day after, and the day after.
I listened to her, and empathised; Muna was also pushing me to the edge.
I told Nanny Viv she first needs to change her attitude.
She asked, “Hiyo nikumaanisha nini?”
I shared with her a truth I’ll share with you here: respond to all situations with positivity and a mind to make a positive change forward.
With Muna, for example, she should ask herself: Why is Muna throwing tantrums in the morning? Maybe she’s not well rested, so the solution would be to go to bed the night before, 30 minutes earlier. Or to make sure she gets her to nap in the afternoons, when she returns from school.
Another one, why doesn’t she usually finish her breakfast in the morning? It’s probably that she no longer likes her uji as much as she did before. So, how about we remove uji from her breakfast menu, and do more oats and more ngwace?
Maybe she needs to wake Muna up 15 minutes earlier than usual, so there’s more time to manage the tantrums and she gets to school on time.
Positive solutions to move forward.
I’ll applied the same to my own situations. Let’s take this Money Talks column. I used to write it with a different attitude. I wrote it imagining that it was only me and my editor reading it.
Until one day in mid-February, when a reader – Maurice, a Kenyan living in London – emailed with a financial pickle and asked for my two cents on it.
The game changed for me after that first email from a reader.
My attitude took a 360-degree flip. I can pick up from my reading own stories the ‘before Maurice’ and ‘after Maurice’ approach to the column.
A change of attitude means I’m growing as a person and writer.
I’m making more money. I’m learning plenty about managing money. Doors I didn’t know existed are opening. New opportunities are around the corner. I’ve been looking to go back to school but I didn’t know what to sit for. Now I know it’s professional course around personal finance.
It’s been a great start to the year, I can’t complain. (That’s how Kenyans put it when you ask them how they’re fairing. Ha-ha.)
To wipe the sweat off my brow and pat myself on the back, I’m planning to take GB somewhere nice and romantic. It’ll be a surprise, so I hope – really hope – he’s not subscribed to this column. I hope he’s not reading this as I write it.
Easter weekend would have been ideal but it’s not the best time to travel – rates have peaked, getaways are crowded.
We’ll do something small as a small family, then a few weeks after, he and I will do something grownup (wink wink).
It’ll be my treat to him and to myself. Mostly to myself.
Because what’s money if you can’t spend it on the experiences and people that are important to you?
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