We’d like to once again thank our special guest, financial expert Lynn Richardson, for taking a reader question. Known as the “Madea of Money,” Richardson is a money coach, author, the president of Hip Hop Sisters and COO of Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Summit. You can follow her on Twitter and on her website. You can check out the response to her previous question here.
A single mom of four tells MadameNoire that she’s making the move from Detroit to Atlanta after her business fell apart and her home fell into foreclosure. At the moment, she’s working as a freelance massage therapist. What’s your advice to help this mom get back on her feet and off to ATL?
Lynn Richardson: When an income is lost for one reason or another, all too often we wait until the bottom falls completely out of our financial bowl before we make adjustments to our daily expenditures. The key to winning when a financial loss has been experienced is to act quickly and proactively. These tips should help you weather the financial storm until you are ready to blossom in the Atlanta sun:
-Cut each and every unnecessary expense immediately. Unnecessary or excessive household expenses should be minimized and, quite frankly, cable should be the first thing to go. Who needs to watch others making their dreams come true on television while we’re struggling? Get all the news and updates you need from the internet and get an independent internet service that also allows your device to operate as a mobile hotspot.
In addition, luxuries like hair, nail and spa appointments should be on an immediate cease-and-desist order. Soak the acrylic or gel off of your nails, find ways to manage your hair, and enlist a friend or family member for a quick shoulder rub if the stress is on.
Lastly, any additional extracurricular activities for the kids may also have to be put on a brief hiatus. Talk to them honestly about the situation and explain that every penny saved is a penny earned towards the new life in Georgia. Your goal should be to save at least three months of existing living expenses before you move to Atlanta and to find a way to share living expenses during your first year.
-Brand yourself in Atlanta before you get there. Create a free blog at www.wordpress.com to promote and talk about your services. Use a service like Constant Contact to send eblasts promoting your business to your database. Make sure your business looks and feels like a stable enterprise to the outside world, including www.yourdomain.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and a toll-free line with your company name included. All of these services can be purchased for less than $25 in most cases.
-Research the competition in your industry in Atlanta and look for ways to partner to offer your services. Offer gift certificates to corporations, non-profits, and small businesses. Seek teaching opportunities at state and community colleges. Find geographical areas where your services would be most beneficial, like business centers, shopping areas, and/or celebrity hot-spots. Look for ways to build your cashflow and then, when your financial basket is full of eggs, let them hatch for all of Atlanta to see as you rebuild, rebrand, and relocate!