Episode #36: Listener Q&A: Budgeting, Email Basics, & Spouse’s Investment When Starting Your Business

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Listener Q&A: Budgeting, Email Basics, & Spouse's Investment When Starting Your Business.

In today’s episode, we’re answering some of the questions that you have sent in through @thedrivenpodcast over on Instagram! Then we’ll wrap up with a weekly actionable tip.


Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re answering some of the questions that y’all have sent in through the Driven Podcast over on Instagram.

Topics:

  1. What’s on my plate [1:17]
  2. Shop Talk Q&A: Spouse as a business partner [22:09]
  3. Shop Talk Q&A: Emailing lists and content [31:39]
  4. Shop Talk Q&A: Budgeting as a business [47:52]
  5. Tip of The Week: Budget check [1:08:46]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:17]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives this week. It’s been some weeks, right? We are sheltered in place. You are very, very pregnant. What is going on over there?

Cassy Joy: The way that my laptop is positioned on my lap makes my belly look about the size of Jupiter. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s a real; it’s a thing. It is really there.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: And that belly button is just; hello world.

Cassy Joy: It is “hello world.” Oh man. I’ve been doing these cooking demonstrations on Instagram. And someone wrote in that they really are appreciating the belly button appearance every day.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, when you take a picture down, holding something.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s like 20% of the photo is belly.

Cassy Joy: Yes, exactly! {laughs} Oh man. Yeah, things are very different right now. My update that I had written, halfway in jest. Not really, but I wrote that I’m frankly completely overwhelmed, but this too shall pass. It’s just a very interesting season. And I shared a little bit about; I mean, having a baby in the middle of all of this aside, this is a lot going on for everybody. And just trying to batten down the hatches. Make sure business is as healthy as possible. You know, we’re coordinating with all of our partners appropriately to navigate this season. The content is really fresh. So I think our team; and I saw our Sunday roundup.

We always post a what you might have missed on www.FedandFit.com on Sundays. I sent a note to my team, because the stars are aligning. This is an incredible pro to come out of this season. But because everybody had to hustle, and we wanted to provide folks with real time, really helpful content. Pantry articles, how to start running in training for a run if that’s something you want to do right now, if you’re not able to go to your gym or your group classes. As an example, how to throw a really festive Easter celebration at home with your immediate family and the people you’re quarantined with.

And all of that writing used to fall on just my shoulders and then just mine and Amber’s shoulders. And then for a while there, just Amber’s shoulders, who works with me. And now with a team of four, myself included, we’re all able to write. And it’s this dream I’ve always had, Diane, of co-contributors. So when you pull up the website, you can see; oh, Lauren wrote another article. And I love her spin on things. You know, and you can really jump into that stuff. And it’s because of COVID and this really sad, sad series of unfortunate events that our team has been able to blossom into that next stage out of necessity.

So that has definitely been a silver lining for us, business wise. And it’s been impressive. So on Sunday when I saw the roundup go up, I was like; we published five huge articles last week. Like, not just, here’s a recipe for raisin loaf; which is a lot of work, probably. But, you know, big, big pieces of content. So I’m really proud of our team right now. And proud that we get to be; right now, a lot of online content creators are kind of under fire.

We haven’t talked about this at all. But I have seen a lot of people who definitely identify as influencers as their job description. Which I know; I don’t think you and I do. I see myself as more of a business owner, and trying to provide. And I know you do as well. Trying to provide useful, helpful services that really benefit our community. And in a season when folks are kind of buckling down financially, physically, it’s doing really interesting and kind of unnerving things for the profession of that influencer world.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: And it’s been interesting to see because, through this shuffle, the folks that are really here to provide valuable content and to give more than they’re asking of their community, that’s becoming very apparent. And the people whose businesses are built on giving more than necessarily taking or asking is really becoming apparent. So I’m grateful to be on the other side of that fence. And it’s just; we had a team meeting this morning, and I just wanted them to know that; you know, this is our hunch and what we’ve been working at all along, I think, is more apparent that we’re really here to help.

So anyway, there’s all of that. The content. The Fed and Fit stuff. Battening down the hatches. Still pursuing; I just texted Diane a photo of the countertop for our kitchen studio that’s going to come through. So all of that is still happening, which is really exciting. And then we’re going to turn in this book, and that timeline has moved around a lot. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a fly on the wall of the internal publishing world right now. Because, especially in the cookbook world, authors can’t get groceries to test recipes. They can’t get groceries to photograph recipes if they had a team like we do to organize.

Diane Sanfilippo: Can’t get together to do those things.

Cassy Joy: You can’t get together. It’s all impacted. So that timeline got moved. Which is understandable. It just doesn’t follow the pretty little plan. {laughs} That I had set of having it all turned in and be done before this baby gets here. But that’s real life, isn’t it? Things hardly ever go according to the perfect little plan. And then having a baby in the mix of all of this. And figuring out what that means.

I was telling Diane before we started recording; so I have an in-person team here in San Antonio. All of us live together. Not live together, sorry. We live in the same city.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} Imagine that.

Cassy Joy: I would love that right now, if we could all be quarantined together. Oh my gosh. Think of how much we’d get done. {laughing} Just kidding.

Diane Sanfilippo: Type 3 vibes.

Cassy Joy: They’d be so sick; yeah, totally type 3 vibes. So we all live in San Antonio. Amber just moved here. She’s relocated from Austin, so everybody is here now. Ready to move into the office. And I’ve always known that I function best with an in-person team. I’ve said that a lot. But it wasn’t until this season that I realized that I have, not just functioned best. I have built a business that needs, requires, an in-person team. And it’s not the same as preparing for my last maternity leave. Because I was essentially solo then. I mean, Amber was there but we didn’t work as closely. She was not full time, I don’t think. And I was used to doing everything on my own. So the expectations that I had set on myself were achievable based on what I could do; my personal bandwidth.

And now, without the team there every day to kind of help execute on some of these to-do’s and building this maternity leave worth of work, it’s all fallen on my shoulders again. And I don’t know why; I don’t have this kind of foresight. I don’t look at; maybe this is more type 3 vibes. I don’t look at a to-do list and think; I cannot do that. I think; I will figure it out. And it’s not until; it’s like, I have to crash and burn around it before it really comes to reality. So, we’re going to get it done. It’s just going to be way harried, and way more rushed and frantic, right up to the deadline, than I thought it would be.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that was something that I learned working in a small team years ago when I worked just basically with my boss. It was kind of the two of us in a small business ad agency. I remember I would get to this point in a project where I realized that I should have asked for help a week or two sooner. Or I should have delegated to a contractor that we had working with us, or something like that. It was like; I took everything on my shoulders. And I hit this point way too late in the game. And learning that lesson so many times; learning.

You know, I think, you know, we’re just being stereotypical. But I think a type 3 is very inclined, much like a type 8, to keep everything on our own shoulders. But I do think a type 8, as we become healthier, is really, really good at delegating. We are constantly putting stuff off of our own plates to the point where sometimes I wonder if I need to pull things back to my own plate. But then I look at my to-do list; and I’m like, three of those six things don’t need to be my tasks. I don’t need to be doing that. But I think this is a good lesson for business owners.

Once you have other people looped into things, really getting super, super dialed in on what is a 100% requirement that my time, attention, voice, work is on this versus; I’m just holding onto control and wanting to be the one, you know, to do it. Versus empowering someone else to do it and letting them; the lift that comes from that. Not only taking the task off your plate, but their confidence that’s built by you trusting in them and also by them accomplishing something. Even if it wasn’t done as quickly as you could have done it. Which is, most of the time not even true. Most of the time we think we’re going to be faster but we have too many other things going on. Or it wouldn’t be done as well. And maybe it is done as well; or 80-90%. But that 10-20 is something that person needs to learn at some point.

I don’t know what the list is for you; but I heard myself in that story. Because I’m like; oh my gosh. How many times have I been like; I don’t know. I think we can get this all done. And the team is like; Diane, you asked me to do 10 other things also.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: So, maybe you should have asked me this three weeks ago so I could actually put it into my queue and prioritize it how you would want me to prioritize it. That’s kind of the scenario.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: But yeah. It is tough. I could see that it would be so much easier to jostle a priority list in person than it is remotely.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Or we tag team things. For example, I still do all of the food photography that shows up on Fed and Fit. And this is a little bit of a pride point for me. Because the story …

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s also fun and creative.

Cassy Joy: It is.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s the fun part of the work that we do like to do.

Cassy Joy: I do. I do love to do it. I rationalize it from a business perspective, because I think; while we have so many new writers, and new voices. This at least remains a consistent thread.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think that’s fair.

Cassy Joy: Something that’s a visual experience. It also makes me feel like I’m contributing; they still need me to do something. I joke with them all the time about that. But when we’re together in person, Amber does the testing. The recipe testing. And the chopping. And Lauren and Brandy tag team on the dishes and all the prep. And they bring it over to me, and I take the photo. And then I sit down and I do my other work. But without them there, it’s back to; woe is me, right? But it’s back to the old days of doing it all 100%. And so it’s like; the recipe photos is one of the big tasks. And then just authoring the book. Which, I wish I could delegate it. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I hear you. And you can’t. But you know, maybe one day you’ll be at the place where you do want to delegate the photography. That’s an interesting segue; are you wrapped on your updates?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, go for it.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So I’m going to pop in with a segue on that. I love food photography. I feel a lot of pride in taking photos of my own food, of my own recipes, of my own products. So the photos that we have currently of the spices on the spices website, just the main shop.balancedbites.com, I took those. It was really not any kind of glamorous photo shoot. It was like; set up one little thing. Marble, white backdrop, boom. Line them all up, get them done. You know. They’re spices. I don’t need a million glamour shots to just get it launched.

Now, the food photos that we have for meals, I was like; I don’t know that I am really the best person to do these. Because I can do something that I cook in my house, and kind of put love into and get that done. I am kind of actually on the other side of enjoying that, in some way I have other things that I’m enjoying more lately. But, I have this really strong pull to enjoy a little more time freedom. And the ability to pay someone else to do that work. I’m taking a lot of pleasure in saying; hey, I think you can do this as well as, if not possibly better, than I can. And giving someone else the work. Instead of; this is not the case for everyone. But instead of me selfishly saying; I’m the best person to do this, and I’m going to do it better so I should do it. Or I just want to, or any of that. I’m like; you know what? Why don’t I hand this work to someone who is going to do a great job at it? And probably have more breathing room and creativity than I would in the moment. Where I’m just; ugh, get it done!

So anyway, long story short, we’ve got new photos of the new spices that are coming to the website. I just looked at those, and they look so beautiful, and the lighting is really nice. And I’m like; this is better than I would have done.

Cassy Joy: Aww, good.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I’m so glad. You know? And I’m so glad to be able to support someone who has that work in her life. She works as a massage therapist otherwise, which is obviously not happening right now. So I was even saying to her; let’s look at a calendar. I have a million ideas that never ends. Why don’t we get a calendar planned out? I can either do this per shoot, or hire you on a retainer, or whatever we’re going to do. Because I really love pouring my finances into other people’s businesses, too. That gives me a big sense of pride. That’s a huge positive for me.

So I’m learning to feel good about that, versus only being the one to do the work. And being like; ok, it’s a really good thing. Anyway. But I’m excited about that. We don’t have the new blends coming yet. There are three new blends coming within the next few months. I have to see who can print labels for them, because the printer we had is in New York, and that’s not going to happen right now, just due to the whole circumstance of the country. So we’ll see. But we’ve got three new blends coming soon. And actually, even sooner, have the new size and new packaging coming for the same 12 blends that we’ve had. And for those of you who are like; when will Trifecta and Super Garlic be back; very, very soon. Probably by the time this airs, they’ll already be on sale.

Cassy Joy: Oh good. Because I need some more Super Garlic.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} We’ll send you some.

Cassy Joy: I buy it! I buy it.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that’s coming. And I think we should, at some point soon, also have some refill packs for just those two blends. And I’ll update you guys on kind of more the behind the scenes of all of that as we go forward into future episodes and what not. And maybe I’ll talk more in an episode about just the need to shift from the packaging I wanted and loved to a more practical, reasonable packaging for the average consumer to understand. Because that’s kind of been a big hurdle for me to overcome the first; it’s been 3.5 years of running that business. And the packaging is new, and the jars are normal sized now. So it’s a big deal.

Anyway. So that’s exciting. The photos are really beautiful, and I can’t wait to get those up on the website. I miss grocery shopping. To your point earlier, about food photographers and folks working on books not being able to go out and do that. I would say that it’s not something I had done a lot of in the last 6 months or so, where I would just go to the store, walk up and down the aisles, and have my little; for me, it’s like this guilt-free shopping experience. Where you’re like; I have to buy groceries. And also, I’m just going to browse around a little bit. See what’s new. Part of our jobs is to help people decide of they want to try and buy new products, where we spend our money and taste it and tell them what it’s like. And is it good. And all of that.

I had been doing a lot of online grocery shopping through Good Eggs, which is a local farmer’s market style company. But I really miss grocery shopping. So I’m adding that to the list of things I’m looking forward to doing more normally at some point when this stuff changes. So that was kind of my little personal update.

Lot’s of stuff in the works with rebranding. I talked about that on a previous episode. But we’re going to start rolling more of that out to the websites. Eventually to the meals packaging and the boxes and all that. So you know, all coming up. That’s kind of my little mini update.

Cassy Joy: That’s so exciting. I can’t wait to see the photos. And you know, I went through that same kind of struggle with the book. With this third book that I’m writing. And I think we might have talked about it here, or maybe I just talked to you privately about it.

Diane Sanfilippo: With the food photographer.

Cassy Joy: Yes. And she’s incredibly gifted, and very talented. And it’s going to be way better than I could have ever done. But man, that was a Band-Aid to pull off.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. It’s hard because, I also think, when I look at cookbooks I think there is a piece of a cookbook that, for me, just has a different amount of soul when I know the person who made the food, or who created the recipe, also took the photo. Because it’s like, we see it through your eyes entirely. And that’s not to devalue what it means to have a talented photographer come in and be able to pay them to do that work. But there is something about it when you’re like; I made that, and I took that picture. Or even if you didn’t cook every part of the dish. Like, you and your team were there, doing it, and it got executed how you wanted. I think super posh cookbooks that are out there, where maybe the chef isn’t even on the shoot; I don’t know how often that might happen. But I don’t know; it does feel different.

Cassy Joy: I’m with you. I’m on the same page, and that’s why I kind of insisted very stubbornly; {laughs} I was very stubborn, actually, about wanting to be the stylist. The food stylist. Because I wanted to plate and I wanted to style. And you know; we got into a groove there towards the end of our third shoot. We still have another shoot that is postponed to who knows when. But we got into a groove where; I think she started to learn my style, and we just adapted to each other a little bit. But the photos are gorgeous. It’s like my food, just with a better picture.

Diane Sanfilippo: A little bit better.

Cassy Joy: Yeah!

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think that’s the best of both worlds. Because I definitely lose a little bit of inspiration sometimes where I’m like; I’m tired. It’s good enough. You know; it’s good, and I know it could be better. I really do. But I’m also like; and I have to let it be good enough. But I think having that other person there to say; no, what if we just do this, or take this angle, or add this prop.

Cassy Joy: Toast that bun. Which I never would have done at the end of the day. {laughing} Go stick that bun under the broiler.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I love that.

Cassy Joy: Oh man. Ok, well before we jump into Shop Talk, Diane and I were chatting quickly before this segment, and I just wanted to give y’all a really quick update. Speaking of maternity, baby, and all the unknowns in business coming ahead. I wanted to loop y’all in on our internal conversations around my maternity leave. Essentially, to just give my very type A brain something to wrap itself around, I am going to essentially step away for about 8 weeks. And call it a maternity leave, or a very short sabbatical. And then we’ll reassess at that time what it’s going to look like.

But I’m so excited to see what Diane comes up with for these next 8 weeks for y’all. I know she’s got some folks that she really wants to interview, and some other really great topics. And I know you’re going to be in incredible hands. I think I am going to really miss this, but I think it is the right thing to do to clear my head around baby and the other business moving targets.

2.  Shop Talk Q&A: Spouse as a business partner [22:09]

Diane Sanfilippo: Shop Talk. In this segment, we talk about topics that are on both our minds and yours. We’ll cover all sides of the issue, and hopefully land somewhere concise, actionable, and helpful. And actually this week it’s a Q&A episode. So Cassy, I think we’ll kick off with having you read the questions, and we’ll see. We often typically have a lot of notes. Sometimes; and this is Cassy and my favorite thing to do; we decide, we are not going to go all in on the question ahead of time to make a lot of notes, because we think there’s also a lot of value in off the cuff responses. Like; what does our gut say as a response to this, rather than if we’re overly calculated. So it’s kind of like coming to a talk with us, and throwing the question out there. Like; ok, what do you have for me. So we’re peppering these.

Cassy Joy: OK. So the first one is by Mountain Mama MD, and she asks, “I’m a pediatrician, and my colleague and I are starting a natural organic children’s health product company. Think natural, but scientifically backed remedies with supplements. We are in the very early planning stages; however a question came up about whether our spouses, who are very supportive and involved to the degree that your spouse is involved in any personal project, offering input but not investing an inordinate amount of time; should be equal but separate shareholders. Is that a weird conversation if you share all of your finances, or is it realistic, given they are taking on a risk as well? And if we take on something like an equity line of credit on the house, etc., to help fund certain aspects, they obviously have some skin in the game.”

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s an interesting question. I think it really actually depends on your personal finances, the way that you set that up as a household. I know that for me, that would not really be a conversation. Because the way that I handle my finances and my businesses is really separate from what I do with my husband. That being said; this is a conversation that we kind of started to have. It wasn’t around a big financial partnership, but talking about bringing Balanced Bites meals to retail, which then got totally put on hold with the whole coronavirus pause that’s happening. But it was a conversation like; hey, I’m looking to maybe spend X amount of dollars. I think of it as our money. It wasn’t really asking for permission, and it wasn’t really anything regarding the business or equity in the business.

Because I don’t know what difference that really makes. If you and your partner, lets say, are 50/50 in the business, and your spouse is there and you file taxes together, whether or not your spouses are then given X percentage; I personally think that’s just going to make things way muddier, unless one family, one couple is contributing more money. So if there’s an uneven split in resources being contributed to the business.

Let’s just say you’re starting with $100,000, and you and your husband, or your side of it is, is $75,000, and the other side is $25,000, unless you guys decide; and this is something you have to do on paper, legally, all of that. That the weight of whatever the other partner; and I’m saying partner in terms of not spouse. I’m saying business partner. The partner who is not contributing as many dollars; if what they contribute to the business carries equal weight in terms of their knowledge, expertise, contacts, whatever it is, that’s for you guys to decide whether or not it’s the dollars that you’re really going in on percentage wise. Does that make sense?

You might say; well, I’m contributing $75,000 versus $25,000, but that person’s experience and knowledge in this area is going to be what levels that and makes it to where our business investment is even. And I don’t know that I think that the spouses getting involved is a relevant or important issue. I actually think you need to have that conversation with your spouse about what you’re doing with your decisions and your business. But unless your spouse is an expert, or has some reason to be involved, I think it just needs to be like; that’s your conversation with your spouse. Here’s what I’m doing; are you on board with it? But I personally would not have them on the paperwork or anything like that. That’s not how I would approach it. What about you?

Cassy Joy: I totally agree. I think it sounds like an opportunity to have a family meeting, and have this kind of conversation. Early on in Fed and Fit days, and early on in my marriage, every financial decision that I made with my business was a direct impact of our personal finances. Because Fed and Fit wasn’t making any money. And I wouldn’t buy a new computer without talking with Austin about that.

Things are different now; I’m the sole owner of Fed and Fit. Now, we are married, and we file jointly. Fed and Fit is a business, but of course the income and whatever it nets is filed on our taxes as a couple. But I don’t know. This is not a direct answer to your question, but just so folks understand a little bit more of the landscape; the way that our relationship works and financial conversations is; I wouldn’t buy a new couch without talking to him about it. But I will go and hire someone part time without talking to him about it. Which is probably 10 times more of an expense. So that’s just kind of how things have played out over the course of years.

Now, in this scenario, I would say; I would probably approach it by having a family meeting. But like Diane is saying; unless your partner; by that I mean your romantic partner, like your husband, unless your partners are able to contribute something that would tip the scale in terms of intellectual value that they’re bringing to the conversation. And it would have be an obvious amount.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: It’s not something where you would sit there and go tit for tat; well, he has a master’s degree in this, and he has these kind of hours of experience. But if it were an obvious, huge sway, then maybe bring that into the conversation and maybe just increase your own represented ownership in the business. But if it’s really this close, which it sounds like it’s kind of a close call, that’s just the impression that I get. Then I wouldn’t muddy those waters, either.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. I think you’re basically just kind of diluting things in a way. Let’s just say the business partnership is 50/50. Then what are you going to do; each have your husbands or your spouse or whoever somehow have 10% each? I don’t really see how that’s of any benefit to anyone, unless it’s just an ego thing and they want to feel like they have some say in something at some point. Which to me seems pointless. Again, unless they have expertise. And really all you’re doing is muddying things up and potentially diluting thing. If anything should go wrong. Let’s just say your business partner gets a divorce from her husband. And I don’t know who these people are, so this isn’t personal to them. But just, for example. Then there’s a percentage of that business that they lost in that situation if they do that.

I feel like, unless you’re in a place where you need to raise capital in a certain way and your spouse is independently out there searching and finding people to invest money, and there’s a reason why they have value as the person other than they just happen to be your spouse. But I don’t really see a reason why your spouse, just because you share the same roof, is supposed to be a shareholder. If you’re married, you’re equally in that.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. They’re already a shareholder.

Diane Sanfilippo: They’re already, yeah.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, for all practical purposes.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think this is like; I think they’re kind of putting the cart before the horse a little bit here. Why don’t you get a business where you have a lot of money and need to figure things out in a certain way, and then you can always draw up new business partnership paperwork and decide there are more people involved, you know what I mean? But if it is a spouse who is bringing in investors, that’s different.

Cassy Joy: It is.

Diane Sanfilippo: I do think if someone says; well, my husband has these contacts. But that’s also up to you, too. Because I feel like; you get into a business partnership with someone, you’re both bringing all of your benefits to the table. To me, I feel like that’s just part of the benefit of you being in the business. Is that your husband might know somebody.

Cassy Joy: Totally. I mean, Austin does all of my accounting. And in any partnership that I have, he runs the accounting, because I don’t {laughs}. And that’s a huge value. But he doesn’t get paid by Fed and Fit. That’s just how ours works out. He doesn’t get paid by Fed and Fit and he doesn’t have an explicit ownership value. It’s just a part of our unit, and how we function as a couple.

Diane Sanfilippo: Totally.

3.  Shop Talk Q&A: Emailing lists and content [31:39]

Cassy Joy: So I could trivialize, but I won’t, what I do for his businesses. I was going to say I bake cookies. {laughing} But, that’s not the same. Ok, next question. Kate Michelle Kay asks, “Mailing lists; how do you set them up? How often should you email, and what should you email over post in socials? So what should you email versus post in social? How do you make them look nice? Thanks so much for your time and knowledge you’re investing through this podcast. Since volunteering as a nonprofit social media person, I have been doing a nice job pretending I know what to do.” {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s so cute. Well I will first preface this by saying; I’m sure we will have a whole series on emails. Perhaps when Cassy comes back, because I don’t know if I; well, I can do some episodes on it because we actually are in the process of redoing all of our emails, and I can talk about the way I’ve done them over the last decade and what the evolution has been and what I do now and just kind of seeing things differently from all different perspectives.

But, initially, here’s the advice that I typically give to people who are just starting out. Cassy, you can throw whatever at me. Most email list companies, whether it’s a company like Flow Desk or Mail Chimp or A Webber. A lot of these companies that are out there, they usually have an initial way to sign up for free, up to X number of sends or people on your list. And then from there, you’ll have to pay.

How do you set them up? It’s going to look different depending on which company you go with. They’re all going to have little sign up forms, or a link to sign up, etc. Really depending on what kind of business it is, you should not be manually adding people to an email list. They should be opting into emails. Now, if you work for a nonprofit, and you have a list that you have been blind copying, or CCing, and you want to move them over to an actual email list, that might be a situation where you actually have permission to be emailing them but you’re putting them into a system. I still think the really best-case scenario is sending an email that says, “Hey everyone! Please sign up for the official emails here. Here’s the link.” And logistically where you’ll get that is going to depend on which service you use.

But all of these systems, you’re going to have to sign up and click around. There will be tutorials. You can do a search on YouTube, and I’m sure you’ll find a video of somebody who says; here’s how to set it up. Whichever system you go with.

So the logistics and the basics of setting it up; that’s not really probably our best expertise to spend a lot of time on. Because it’s basically like; there’s a way to do it, and my opinion on that is not a thing. It’s just; here’s how you do it. And it’s going to vary by system.

So to some more important, or bigger questions, that we would actually weigh in on opinion-wise; how often should you email and what should you email versus post in social. This is a topic that I’m sure a lot of people have different opinions on. It’s going to really depend on your business and what you need to communicate. because you would probably notice that most, let’s say bloggers, food bloggers, bloggers in general, probably email at least once a week. That’s an average. At least once a week, a follow-up email also to everybody who didn’t open the first one. They might get another one the next day or two days later with a different subject line, the same content. Well, we didn’t get you to open it with that first one, so here’s a new subject line; maybe you’ll open it this time. That’s pretty typical. And that’s a resend; you can always look into how you do that with segmenting whoever didn’t open it gets the email again.

What you’re going to email versus post in social; I think this is a really personal decision. And I think what we have to look at is; who are the people who say, I want you in my inbox. That sounds personal. {laughs} But we follow a lot more people on social media than we subscribe to emails, right? Hopefully.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So what you’re doing with email; you really want to make sure that you’re delivering a depth of information, whether it’s a recap; here’s what you may have missed. Here are links to all the things that went out. Maybe if it’s a nonprofit, and you’re volunteering. And I don’t know what the nonprofit is, but let’s say there’s news to be shared every week. Maybe there are new team members; whatever it is that you need to share announcements that people might be interested in; here’s where we’re spending the money that you’re donating. That type of information, I do think it could be something that is more; it is a newsletter. It’s a collection of updates and how much you share in there is going to really depend, again, on your audience.

I think that there are so many different ways to approach what you put in email. Some people only send emails that have one subject. It’s a couple of paragraphs of text. Maybe there’s an image, maybe there’s not. And one link, and that’s it. And some people swear by that, and that’s the best way to go. Then you’ve got retail companies, for example, which is what I’m taking inspiration from lately. I’ve been looking at emails from Bombas, a sock company. I really like their emails visually. I notice that I don’t unsubscribe. I don’t know why, I just like their emails. And I’m like; well, one day when I’m ready for socks again, I’ll buy them. I don’t know. It’s just, that’s what I’m doing. And I think they’re pretty. It’s like they’re very focused. I know they’re going to try and sell me socks in every email. And that’s the way that I engage with a retail company, which is maybe different from the way that somebody would engage with a nonprofit, a blogger, etc.

So I think you really have to consider; who are you talking to? What is valuable for you to communicate to them on a regular basis, and allow email to be a place where you have a different conversation and you maybe do put more information. What goes in social media is much more of the moment. One snapshot, one thing at a time that you’re sharing. It’s not going to be the same collection of; here’s what you may have missed, a million links, and all of that. It’s really just in the moment. It’s one photo with a caption, etc. So that’s my take on email versus social. What’s your take on that part?

Cassy Joy: I think that’s a really thorough update. I only have a couple of things I would throw in there. One thing I think folks; if you want to bridge the two together; weave the two together, something that I really like when folks do. I haven’t done this in a really long time, but I think it’s a good thing. To call out what you’re putting on social media, and maybe pull out your four most engaged posts from that week.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like a, what you missed, or what people are talking about, that kind of thing? Like retrospectively?

Cassy Joy: Yes. Retrospectively, exactly. So let’s say, if every week for your nonprofit you send out an email, and it’s on a Sunday. You can say; here’s our most talked about topics from our Instagram.

Diane Sanfilippo: I like that. We do that.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, I like that. So I think that’s one way you can weave the two together. And you can build content that also still informs. Because what I have found is that my email subscribers; the two audiences, there is some overlap but not as much as you might think. My email subscribers are the ones who are like; I don’t have time to watch all day every day. I want you to tell me the best of the best, and then I’m going to go click around and decide what I want to click on. So I think that’s a good thing to put in your email post; is just a roundup of articles from, let’s say, your four most popular Instagram posts, conversation starters, whatever you want to call it.

And then something else that we do; the way we approach our emails is we approach it as actually unique content. But we approach them in the essence of they’re roundups of our content. So at this point I’m not sure how much content you’re sitting on for this nonprofit that you work for. But if you have a good amount of approaches, events, ways to give back, reasons why this organization even started, you could use your email as a way to repurpose that information.

There was a day when I wrote brand new articles; I called the nutrition exposes, for my newsletter. And it was a lot of work. And I did a tremendous amount of research. And I stopped doing it after almost two full years, because I was like; I light this thing, and it’s like a match. It’s gone. Nobody every sees it again. And of course, we went back and started retroactively publishing it on the website, so folks could find it in the future. But what we found is people really want more guides in an email than they want specific content. So we’ll give them; food obviously is what I do primarily. Food and lifestyle. Five easy recipes to make this week with shredded chicken. So we treat them more as mini roundups.

If you ever have an email; the only last thing I want to add on here. If you ever have an email that resonates especially well with your readers. Maybe you publish something in the world of nonprofit. Maybe you said; here are five sister nonprofits that we really identify with and support and adore, and here’s why. You give a roundup of them, and here’s links that you can go and contribute and click and support them right now.

So let’s say your emails subscribers say; wow, that was so helpful. I’ve been wanting to expand who I’m supporting. If you find that that kind of content was successful, you can use that to inform your social content. So, then all of a sudden, you’ve got five, to Diane’s point, single mention social posts that can come from that. We just sent out an email where we said; here are the five or six places online while we’re all in isolation that are still shipping frozen raw proteins. And our email subscribers were like; wow, this is super helpful. So of course, we went and talked about it on social. But that’s the only other thing I have to add there.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah I love that. I think you also want to consider what is the platform on social versus email. What I mean by that is; on social media, it wouldn’t feel entirely aligned, I don’t think. And maybe I’m wrong, and we’ll figure this out. But to your point about the audience being the same but different; what we do in the Balanced Bites emails is actually kind of a shift from what I used to do. You would subscribe to www.balancedbites.com, dianesanfilippo.com. that was my email list, just as me.

And what we did was; we didn’t just transition that into the Balanced Bites food company email list, because I knew that that content that we send from Balanced Bites, it’s so much more retail product focused. And I didn’t want to shift from; you subscribed to here, what Diane was up to, and what educational pieces and all of that. I didn’t want to just say; automatically now you’re getting these emails where we’re selling food and spices and whatever. So that felt like a disconnect to me.

But, that being said, I know that the customer who is shopping with Balanced Bites and buying spices and buying meals; or maybe not buying anything yet, wants to know about health and wellness from me. So every week, we always include a piece on health and wellness. Last week it was tips for managing stress. Sometimes it’s sleep tips. Sometimes it’s immune support. It’s something health oriented. Maybe it’s a specific ingredient highlight. We also always include a recipe. So what we do on social media, we don’t really share a lot of the health topics through Balanced Bites on social media, because it is so much more of a product, recipe, food focus. And I don’t know that it feels like the right place to be like; here’s our tips for managing stress, when the average person who has gone to follow Balanced Bites on social media is following for the food.

But I do think that nurturing a deeper conversation; and I have had this word on my mind a lot lately, but creating a lot more brand affinity. Really creating this nurturing environment where we say; we understand that yes, you came to buy this, but this is part of your life, too, that you want to know about health and wellness and managing stress, and we’re all in these times right now. You are going to want tips and tricks on this stuff, too. And how do I teach something in these emails, and not just ask you to spend money in every single email?

Because that’s one thing that I see in a lot of marketing emails that I get from brands. I’m like; well, I wish you would also teach me something. You know what I mean? Even if you’re selling just socks, or clothes that are along a certain line, there’s always something I can learn. Maybe there’s an organizational tip. Is there a tip for washing my socks and not losing them? Whatever it’s going to be, I bet we could come up with 50 different things that this company could be teaching in the course of a year. So that’s kind of the thing that I want to lean into.

So to your point, Cassy, maybe a subject of; here are some sister companies or nonprofits that we love. And we don’t know what her nonprofit is surrounding, but let’s just say it’s surrounding hunger, for example. What are some other educational elements that you could bring into an email that you might not really be able to have a longer conversation about that on social media? Maybe it’s not the place to say; here are some ideas for local ways you can help with hunger in your neighborhood. That’s too much of a conversation sometimes for social. People are flipping through, they’re swiping, etc. Versus if they said; I want to hear from this organization, how can we take that conversation one step deeper to really connecting with what matters to the person reading the email.

So there’s a lot there. She also asks some questions about how do you make them look nice, etc. Listen; there are templates in all of these formats that you’re going to use. I love using Canva, but I would say less is more if you’re trying to make something look good. Less is more. Keep it simple. Ultimately, graphic designers tend to be really underrated in an era where we have things like Canva, which I still use. Myself and the designer on our team, we use Canva.

But not having a designer’s eye to look at things and edit it down, and say; you’re using too many different colors, too many different fonts, this is distracting. I think for a lot of people, graphics and design are, because you don’t know how to look at things, you also don’t know how to get out of your own way when you might be creating graphics that are doing more harm than good. So if you’re unsure and you’re not a designer, I would say less is more when it comes to the visuals. Use your company logo, use text and a hyperlink. Use bold text for a headline. But I wouldn’t go crazy putting lots of graphics together if that is not your strong suite. I think you will do more harm than good visually. Because you’ll make your nonprofit look less legit if the graphics are not really solid.

And I think most of us hopefully can self-audit. If you’re like; I’m not a designer; just own it. It’s ok. I’m not a doctor. I am not going to go pretend to do surgery. I know that’s a little different. But I think people really undervalue how impactful in a negative way bad design can be. You know what I mean?

Cassy Joy: Yep. I do.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s a whole other topic.

Cassy Joy: It is. And people like myself, who are not designers, you can have…

Diane Sanfilippo: But you have an eye.

Cassy Joy: You have an inkling, but it’s oftentimes not until somebody puts an alternative in front of me that I can say; yes I like that better. And so if you’re doubting yourself, ask folks. Ask other people for their opinion, if this feels too busy, or what not. But I have definitely found that under designing things; even if we’re having to do something in-house, is always going to be better.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. For sure.

4.  Shop Talk Q&A: Budgeting as a business [47:52]

Cassy Joy: Ok. One more question?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think so.

Cassy Joy: Ok. Last question. The C-section mom says, “I have a podcast idea. I’d love to hear both of you share thoughts on budgeting your personal finances as an entrepreneur. Definitely not specifics of income, but like; how do you know when and how much to pay yourself? How do you budget in the beginning when your income is small and maybe a little inconsistent and unreliable? Buying a home when you’re self-employed; I’ve heard the process of applying for a mortgage is different in that case. Maybe addressing things like paying for health insurance, retirement funds; even separating money for business and personal expenses. I hope all that makes sense, and it isn’t prying too much. I’m growing my blog/business, and my husband is starting his own service-based business this year, too. We’re exciting and figuring it out as we go. We’re parachute builders,” She winked, “But this will be the first time ever as individuals and a couple that we have income that is entirely self-employed. So we have a lot of questions about how that impacts our personal finances.”

Diane Sanfilippo: I was making a lot of faces.

Cassy Joy: You were {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because I will have to remember back to my early days, because; listen. I have strengths. Budgeting is not one of them. And I say that as somebody who; one of my strengths is generating revenue. So I get to this place where I have a bookkeeper and an accountant, and they make sure that we’re paying the bills and I’m constantly having my finger on the pulse of what’s the money that we have in the bank, making sure that everything is in a good place. We can pay everyone. We’re never behind on bills or any of that. But; we talked about this with the fascination advantage. I’m not the person who will stay mired in the line items of budget, etc.

So for better or for worse; I’m being 100% honest about that. I am not that person. I will say, when I first started, which is, I think relevant to the situation. I had a very simple spreadsheet where I broke down; here’s what I’m spending on food. Here’s what I’m spending on gas. Here’s what I’m spending on signing up for my email list that maybe did cost $10 a month at that point or something like that. All the business expenses, all the personal expenses. What’s the money I have in the bank, what’s the money that’s coming in. Very, very simple spreadsheet. It wasn’t highly functional aside from adding and subtracting. So it wasn’t anything along the lines of QuickBooks or anything like that yet.

And I remember the reason I did this; it was because I wanted to make sure when the breakeven point was where I wouldn’t need to pull money from my savings anymore. So let’s just say, my overhead for the month; I was paying probably around $1200 a month for a studio apartment in San Francisco. That was many years ago, so if anyone thinks that’s a lot; probably half of what it would cost now. This is place is nuts. But that was the decision I had made to really cut my overhead. I had previously been spending about $2000 a month.

So this is kind of my actual budgeting tip; so that you don’t become so stressed by it, cutting your overhead expenses is absolutely critical when you’re starting a business. If you don’t need all the cable, you don’t have all the cable. If you don’t need Netflix, you don’t have Netflix. Every $10, $20 starts to really add up. And not only that, but you’ll get a lot of time freedom when you’re not sucked into watching TV. I didn’t have cable at that time; we weren’t all watching things as much online.

Anyway. I was really looking at all of that to make sure that whatever was coming in, that I was really allocating it very, very seriously. And I would say the number one piece of advice or what I did to budget was cut my expenses. It wasn’t so much; oh, I’m not going to buy my grass-fed beef. But it was like; instead of buying steak I bought ground meat all the time. So that was kind of my approach to it. I’m not someone who is like; well, you can only spend $100 this week on groceries. I will spend $120. I won’t stick to that budget, just because of that. But I will really make a commitment to my choices and make sure that I’m feeling enough freedom in my choices. Because otherwise I think, just depending on your personality, you may end up feeling like; well, this isn’t for me because I can’t make it work with all of my expenses. Does that make sense?

So that’s not exactly what she was asking, because logistically, I’ve got nothing for you on this one.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But, Cassy’s husband is…

Cassy Joy: He’s a finance guy.

Diane Sanfilippo: He’s a dollar’s guy.

Cassy Joy: He is. He’s a dollar’s guy. And I really have to give him all the credit to how we’ve operated. What I’m about to tell you; this glory is not mine. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: And we can come back. I have some other notes on some of the actual serious questions she asked here, too.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. Because I want to hear from you about buying a house. because, to be honest, Austin handled all of that for us. So, to answer tactically some of your other questions that you mentioned here. Paying things for health insurance, retirement funds. Going out and finding health insurance; what I did at the beginning. Bird’s eye view, really quickly. What I did at the beginning, because I’m in it with Fed and Fit. Genny, cut this analogy if it’s too much, but my family uses this a lot. Have you ever heard the analogy that the pig is committed but the chicken is involved? No? Is that too much? So like the chicken lays an egg; the chicken is involved. But the pig is committed, it gave a leg. Right? And when it came to Fed and Fit, I am committed. Thoroughly. My belief in this company being a success; it is. It is a success. I don’t see it as anything else. There may have been years where it wasn’t making as much money. But it is. I am fully committed.

So, as such, I am not just an involved owner. And I’m not saying you are, who wrote this question in. I’m not just an involved owner; I am ready to give constantly a leg back to my business. So I take no pride in the money that I pull out of this business. I honestly, for the first 6 years, kept as much as possible finance wise in my business and I kept reinvesting. So how did I decide how much money to pay myself versus how much to pour back into my company was, how much money do I actually need, to Diane’s point, to cover my overhead expenses. What’s my rent? What’s my mortgage? What are my bills? Where can I cut? Where can I really skim down?

And there were four or five years that I didn’t buy really any; this sounds so trivial and such a first world problem. But I didn’t buy any new clothes, and I have two younger sisters who are very fashionable. And I remember woe is me, telling Austin; I was like; Kim and Sam are always so well dressed, and I’m wearing the same ratty clothes since college. I was just throwing a pity party, and he was like; Cassy, remember what you’re doing. You’re doing this for something bigger for yourself. And I needed that reminder every once in a while. But I was ready. I did not have any eagerness to advance my own income at the sake of my business. So invested very heavily.

And to this day, y’all; in 2020, April 8th is when we’re recording, 2020, I’m still not the most paid person W2-wise, at Fed and Fit. I invest back in my team. Now, at the end of the year, what Fed and Fit profits, I have. That’s income for me as the owner, because I’m 100% the owner. So that’s still my profit. But as far as how much I pay myself, I really just pay myself whatever the expected salary is of someone in my position, and your accountant can walk you through that.

But before I got to that point before I really had that kind of income, and we really finished with a pretty high net at the end of the year that was mine, I still only took out what would cover my immediate expenses.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s how I operate. I don’t have a salary. I don’t operate that way. I think it’s just the way my company is structured, but I basically; we pay the bills. And then at the end of the year,

Cassy Joy: That’s what you made.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. That’s really it. And I’m not trying to siphon off the top X amount to make sure I make all this money. It’s just not really how I go into it.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. My mindset is not around; it’s totally different from being an employee to being this kind of owner. Because it’s not about how much I make on a monthly basis or on an annual basis. It’s not about my salary so much as how healthy is my business at the end of the year. And that usually more than evens out.

Health insurance, you can shop for on the open market. I encourage you just do a little bit of digging there. Retirement funds; again, I’m going to have to give this to Austin. We do a lot of other kind of investing. I mean, in the last year, we invested in cattle ranching, a blueberry farm, a portapotty business. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: This is one of the most interesting things about Cassy and her husband, is the way that he invests their money. That’s really funny to me. But not ha-ha, like; interesting funny.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, totally. It’s just interesting. He’s one of those guys where he goes out, and he looks for a great ROI, and that’s where we put our finances, a little bit at a time. So he’s just one of those people that just is really smart about investments, real estate, things like that. So those make up the majority of our personal retirements. I’m not using that as an advice. But you could look into other options. Talk to your bank about it.

And separating money for business and personal expenses. So because I do have myself set up as a salary, because I have to the way my business is structured, because I do have employees. I do have a W2. So what I do is I have a personal account and I have a business account. And again, your accountant can walk you through this. It sounds obvious; anything that’s a business account is going to run through your business, and then anything we buy personally I just buy on my personal account. And that’s one way we keep things very clean.

Now, I have friends who are solo-preneurs. They don’t pay anybody for anything, so it just all goes into one account, and their accountant figures it out at the end of the day. It’s just all one big bank account. And that works for them. We have a little bit more structure in terms of; I use my personal account to buy our personal family things.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think at a minimum, that’s actually something that if you’re serious about starting a business, and you can do it credit wise, where you can get your business bank account. you’re going to have to get a business bank account most of the time. You have to have that for so many things to get payments and all of that. I think having a separate credit card for your business is actually really, really important.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely. And then as time goes on, two out of the three people that work for Fed and Fit actually have Fed and Fit cards. And it just makes things really nice and easy. Because then I have a card printed in their name. It’s actually part of the business credit card, to Diane’s point. It’s not necessarily a debit card. Because points and all of that good stuff. But that’s how we’ve done it. And that’s kind of been the evolution over the years.

But what was buying a house like, Diane?

Diane Sanfilippo: It was interesting. So, as an owner, there might be years where you net a good amount of money, and some years where you don’t. What was really interesting for me was that the most recent tax year that the banks would have been looking at for me, I basically made no money that year. And that doesn’t mean I couldn’t pay my bills or any of that. It just means what the net was at the end of the year. That ebb and flow where one year it was huge and the next year was like $900, is what ended up on the forms.

I’m saying that; I had overpaid a lot in taxes. So that wasn’t really true. There was other money. But what would have been on the final return for the year would have been super low. And I think what happened was those returns weren’t final yet, or something. Because I’m never in a situation where I’m owing more; I’m always either right up to the nose or there might be a small return. Which is probably not always the best situation for some people to be in. But I’m sometimes just a little behind on getting paperwork ready {laughs}. So sometimes my returns are not done until October for that reason. Which is allowed. If you don’t know. If you don’t owe money, April is not the actual deadline. Just so folks are aware of that. Most people, I don’t think, realize that.

So, we had bankers who were looking at previous returns to help qualify for the loan. And the broker that we were working with. You know, San Francisco is a very entrepreneurial city, so it’s really about finding a mortgage broker who understands what it’s like to help an entrepreneur have their assets and their financial situation seen in a more holistic way than just; here’s your return from one year or two years or three years. Because there’s more to the picture. So I think that was a big part of it.

And you know, asset wise, we were sitting on enough to justify the loan very, very easily. But it’s just a matter of making sure that the financial institutions see it that way. So that was the situation. And it can be difficult. But I think you have to work with somebody who is used to helping someone who is self-employed get a loan. Otherwise, it might be really, really challenging. So we had a good experience with that.

And then; unpopular, but I don’t have health insurance. So it is what it is. That’s just fully transparent. I know some people, that’s just not an option. So you’ll be able to search for that.

The other thing I wanted to just kind of circle back on is; chances are, if you’re both starting businesses, this is not the time to buy a home. Get yourself a place to live that is well below your means. To anybody who is starting a business or a side-hustle or a passion project that you want to grow into something bigger, I think your story about not buying new clothes. Maybe it seemed first world problems and trivial, but that’s the reality. That’s what we’re talking about. You’re not going out for coffee. You’re not getting manicures. You’re not getting your hair cut and colored every month or 8 weeks or however often. Those are all the expenses that need to be scaled back. And I think that so many people don’t take it seriously. They want to still live their life and start a business. And I’m like; actually, that’s not how it works. A real entrepreneur is like; I will sacrifice all these things because this is the thing that I’m building and dreaming of and I’m so passionate about, that in the meantime, I will forgo these other things. Does that make sense?

Cassy Joy: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know. I just think that’s a really undervalued element when it comes to budgeting. And I know I said it in the beginning, but I am going to kind of come back to that. It’s not just about budgeting, it’s about spending a lot less.

Cassy Joy: A lot less. Making significant decisions that are different.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like embarrassing amongst your peers, to the point where you have to swallow your pride. “No, I’m not going out for dinner. No I’m not meeting you for coffee.” Those small things really add up, do you know what I mean? Even when you’re a grown up in your 30s and 40s and not still in your 20s. I was in my late 20s, early 30s when I was making those sacrifices. I hadn’t been on a vacation in who knows how long. And in hindsight; of course I wasn’t. Thousands of dollars to take a vacation. I wasn’t spending thousands of dollars on anything other than the roof over my head, if I had to.

Cassy Joy: It depends on your priorities. Is your priority to build a really healthy, big business that grows faster because you’re able to invest in it more? I got more joy, y’all, out of hiring a web developer for $700, was my very, very first web developer. That brought me more joy than any handbag and pair of shoes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So much pride.

Cassy Joy: So much pride than any vacation could have ever given me. And I didn’t blink. It wasn’t even a decision. But, to illustrate Diane’s point; that’s the difference in how we’re making those decisions. And even this house that Austin and I are going to build coming up; it’s going to be a beautiful home that we’re going to live in for hopefully 20 years. But even still, it’s below our means because we both have business goals. And a significant chunk of what we bring in; a huge part of my joy is now hiring somebody. Giving someone else a job that they can then love and enjoy and really take pride in. That means more to me than more square footage.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think it’s the pin on this conversation that people need to hear, that I don’t think people take seriously enough. It’s something I know Gary Vaynerchuk talks about it all the time. But people; they want it all. They want to start a business and be an entrepreneur, but they also want to have their car and go on vacation and keep up appearances. And I’m here to just lay that down, that you know what? You need to give it probably one to five years of being a little embarrassed about your lifestyle if you’re serious about building a business. I think that’s a minimum, one to five years.

Cassy Joy: Yep. Absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that’s my best budget advice; to spend a whole lot less.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s what I do, so that I don’t have to worry about a budget. Because I don’t want to worry about a budget.

Cassy Joy: Austin would be high fiving you.

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t want anyone telling me what not to spend. He would what?

Cassy Joy: He would be high fiving you right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: But, I mean, I’m sure he would be crazy about the way that I do things. But at the same time, I’m like; we have one car. We don’t need another car. Is it annoying sometimes? Yeah. But we live in a city. Take a ride, it’s fine. Not right now, we’re not going anywhere right now. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: One thing Austin says, just to cap on that and underline it. And it’s a line that he and his family live by, but he really embodied when he made decisions as a young man going into adulthood, and even still to this day. And I’m sure you’ve heard this before. But live today like other’s won’t, so you can live tomorrow like other’s can’t. And I think the ability to hire people is a very rare and precious thing that I have right now, and I have it because I lived like others wouldn’t a few years ago.

Diane Sanfilippo: Here, here.

Cassy Joy: So that’s something to remember. And I’m sure; we went on a tangent. She’s like, yeah, sure. I hope we answered some of your questions.

Diane Sanfilippo: She wanted to know how to set up a spreadsheet, but the problem is; often people ask questions about practical tactical things, and I think, frankly, everyone can figure out their own practical way. I think the more important thing is everybody needs to think about things differently than they do because that’s why we’re successful entrepreneurs. It’s not about the spreadsheet. It’s about how you think about money.

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m not good at everything, but I’m good at not being in debt and finding a way to earn money. There are a lot of reasons that feed into that, and opportunities I’ve been given. But I take them very seriously. And to your point, I just try not to take that for granted, but really lean into it and make sure I’m building and giving back. Like you said, hiring and all of that. Yeah. Hope we helped.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Said with love.

Diane Sanfilippo: Shrugging emoji.

5. Tip of The Week: Budget check [1:08:46]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Cassy, why don’t you give us a tip.

Cassy Joy: Ok, so my tip is what Diane just said. And essentially, I think this is a really great opportunity to audit our businesses, the finances of our businesses in particular. If you give yourself a gut check really quickly; this is something you don’t have to do on paper. You can just do in your own mind. But are you trying to keep up appearances? Are you trying to have it all? Are you trying to still live the lifestyle but your business is suffering and you’re not able to contribute there at the rate that you want? Then where can you possibly reallocate some of your funds in your life to pour back into something that’s going to continue to grow? Unless it’s; I don’t even know. This is why I don’t even own handbags. Unless it’s a handbag that accrues in value, right, there’s a really good chance that where you’re spending your money that could go into your business isn’t necessarily maturing, whereas if you’re pouring it into your business, and it’s in good hands because it’s in your hands, it will continue to grow. 

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Come follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo.

Tune in next week for more business and life insights from us. We’ll see you then.

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