It’s been 15 months since my career ended. And that means it’s time for a quarterly net worth update. How’s it going? Unbelievably, I still have ZERO income, but thanks to the stock market, my net worth peaked. Here’s the scoop.
It didn’t take me long to decide that the loss of my job was an opportunity to do something different with my life. I turned myself into an entrepreneur, creating online courses to teach and encourage people to become financially free. And thus, the Early Exit Academy was born. At the time, I didn’t realize just how much of my life would be consumed by this new endeavor.
Today I’m in the unenviable stage of having a product and no sales. I keep flashing through the popular theme from Field of Dreams – if you build it, people will come. Not! I have not figured out this marketing thing yet. I have fantastic interactive courses, but I’m doing some things wrong. Here’s where I’m at.
My website needs work. I created it last summer and haven’t stepped back to review it since. I have some good feedback that will help me streamline the home page and I have to improve the trust factor.
I am building a crash course – Get out of Debt NOW – that has a smaller pricetag. Hopefully, the addition of this more affordable option will bring in some sales.
I am creating really neat previews for the courses so that potential students get a peek inside to see if it’s a good fit for them.
The advice I’ve received on Facebook advertising (get people to sign up for a webinar and then push sales) isn’t working for me. So I’m taking an online course (The Ad Strategist) that focuses on building a relationship, and using integrity, not gimmicks, to sell my product. That’s a better fit for my personality and values.
I need a niche, and that’s one of my remaining challenges. I’m directing more of my ads to women and I’m especially looking for women who are ready to tackle their finances, but find the subject to be intimidating, confusing, and boring. But how do I reach them? That’s the $1,000,000 question!
I continue to discover new interactive elements to add to my courses. I’ve been so impressed with the Articulate software and they’ve added some new tools that have a WOW factor. Plus, I’ve learned so much since I first discovered this software. I’m still enjoying course creation.
I had no idea it would be this difficult to sell my courses. Admittedly, some days I feel discouraged and my resilience is fading. But I keep coming up with new ideas, and I have total confidence that I’ll eventually hit the mark. So I will keep tweaking and inventing and creating and hoping. Now … on to net worth.
No Income but High Net Worth
Since April 2018, I’ve been recording my net worth every three months. I began with a net worth of $1,143,202. Not shabby, right? The vast majority of my net worth is in my retirement accounts. Today, my net worth is $1,179,501, an increase of 3%. While I’m delighted to see an increase in net worth, I know that it’s market driven. Most of my retirement funds are invested somewhat conservatively, as I can’t afford to take a big loss at my age. I’m content with my larger financial picture.
My strategy is to leave my retirement funds alone for at least five years. That means I have to live off of my taxable savings and investments until I can get an income stream flowing. While my retirement funds lean toward the conservative side, most of my taxable funds are held in Betterment (my referral link) and in a health-care REIT (Welltower). This decision has paid off tremendously – if I had moved all my taxable funds into a savings account, I’d be in pretty sorry shape by now. Here’s an inside picture of the trajectory of my savings/investments.
I’ve used almost half of the savings/investments that I had a year ago. The thing is, the vast majority of funds have not been used to cover my personal expenses. They’ve been used to create my business. So far, I’ve made a personal investment in my business of $46,300. Just for fun, I subtracted that amount from the high mark of $105,159 and that left $58,859. You can see that my actual balance is $52,682 and you can bet that I spent a whole lot more than $6,000 in personal expenses over the last 15 months! That’s the good fortune of having kept those funds in the market.
In the immediate term, I’m focuses on building my Debt course and figuring out a winning marketing strategy. My goal is to have a new version of the website, all my courses completed, and a new marketing approach by Labor Day. I have my work cut out for me. As the production work winds down, I’m open to consulting gigs, based on my previous career expertise. I expect the money drain to continue through the summer months. But I can and I will turn this around!
Any suggestions on how I can reach my target audience – women who want to take charge of their finances but have felt intimidated, confused, and bored by the traditional personal finance field?
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Dr. Brenda is a financial coach, educator, researcher, and sociologist. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she writes 30-day challenges at BetterLifeChallenges.com. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at EarlyExitAcademy.com.
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