Do you feel stuck in a job you don’t like or feel you can not get ahead in life? Well this week’s Simple Inspiration Interview may just help you change those feelings. This week I have the pleasure of interviewing Shimeka from Design the Life You Want. We all have a vision of the life we want to have but many times that vision does not always become reality.
Design The Life You Want is about reclaiming your power as a creator. You have the power to produce the results in your life that you want. Design The Life You Want offers are bi-weekly podcast episodes which interview entrepreneurs and experts who address the common challenges that people face when they want to transition from employee to entrepreneur.
Let’s hear how Shimeka has simplified her finances as well as how she has designed the life she wanted:
What event lead you to decide you were not living the life you envisioned?
I was introduced to a network marketing company in my mid-twenties and realized that being an employee was never going to get me where I wanted to be in life.
How long did it take you to realize that?
It probably took a few years to figure it out. I graduated from college thinking that I was going to climb the corporate ladder. I ended up taking a job in a call center, desperate to get a job before my student loan payments kicked in. I later went to work for a “a good company” in the area and still had hopes building some sort of career. However, the negative interactions from the customer service interactions began to take its toll. I HATED my job and the area where I live didn’t really offer corporate career opportunities. I live in the call center capital of the world, or at least it feels like it. I realized that I had been living a life that required me to put my destiny in someone else’s hands.
What steps did you need to take to change it?
I just quit one day with no plan. I didn’t take the steps that I should have. I had the discretionary income to pay off or pay down my debts, but I was an “in the box” thinker at the time. I should have created a financial plan to address the debt and minimize the risk associated with quitting my job.
What was your biggest challenge or roadblock when it came making that change?
My biggest roadblock was me. I decided to buy into this pipe dream of network marketing success, but did not have the action to produce successful results. I was paralyzed with fear and refused to step outside of my comfort zone. As a result, I spent my 401k, maxed out my credit cards and messed up my credit. I do not regret leaving the job, I just regret the poor financial decisions that I made afterwards.
How did you feel once you made the change?
I felt liberated, but I was delusional at the same time. I kept this charade up for a year before I decided to look for another job. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
Why did you start Design The Life You Want?
I realized that there are a lot of people who want to quit their jobs in order to pursue their dreams. When I asked what was holding them back, there were a few common themes, including finances. I wanted to create a platform to help people overcome those challenges and empower people to live by design and not by default.
What type of feedback have you received since it started?
The feedback has been very positive. I am pleasantly surprised and how receptive my audience has been to me. I started a podcast because I wanted my personality to show and I had not figured out a way to do that with my writing.
What are your current financial goals?
My primary financial goal is to improve my money management and pay off my credit cards. Now, that I am in a better place financially, I find it easier to lose track of what I spend. My biggest variable expense is food and that will be the first project from a money management stand point. I will use the savings to apply to my credit card payments. I other financial goal is to increase my income. I have been using my discretionary income to pay for the cost associated with launching my business. By increasing my income, I will be able to use the business revenue to cover business expenses. This will free up even more discretionary income to pay off debts.
What tools do you currently use to manage your finances?
Online banking is my favorite tool. It’s quick, easy and cost effective. At the same time, it can be more of a challenge to keep up with expenses. I have always balanced my accounts mentally, even when I wrote checks. However, with some items being drafted out of my account, it is hard to keep track of those types of expenses.
What one thing have you done to enable you to live your current lifestyle?
I have never tried to keep up with the Jones’. I get this from my parents, who live very frugal lives. I will also be the first to admit that I do splurge on technology. I treat myself to the things that I really want and that is it. We still have a big square 32inch television in our living room. It would be nice to have a big flat screen tv, but we really don’t need it. I rarely spend money on clothes, shoes or home decor.
What three things do recommend in order to simplify your finances?
– Use online banking. You can manage your accounts, set up notifications and pay your bills.
– Opt for electronic bill notification. This cuts down on the amount of paper mail that you receive.
– Make some of the money that you are saving harder to access. Instead of using your regular bank, find another one located across town. This makes it accessing the money more of a hassle, unless you really need it. It may not be simple from an implementation standpoint, but it is a simple way to leave the money alone once you put it there.
What’s your best savings tip?
I like to save large sums of money versus small systematic sums of money. For example, we save the majority of our income tax refunds every year. The reason why I like this approach is because it is extra money. You don’t need it to pay for any necessities. In my early twenties, I would get a performance bonus every year. I would get few thousand dollars in extra cash and blow it. I don’t remember much of anything I spent that money on, except when I bought a Yorkie. I promised myself that I would never let large sums of money slip through my hands like that ever again. I have been saving my bonus money for eventual maternity leave (whenever I do have kids), because I want the option to stay home even after my paid leave is over.
What book, blog, or podcast would you suggest to someone who is looking to simplify or improve their finances?
I am a big fan of Gen Y Finance guy. I was really impressed with his approach to reaching his financial goals and even interviewed him on my podcast. He offers a detailed look into his personal finances and tells great stories at the same time.
What advice or thoughts you would like to share with others who are looking to change their life?
You have the power to change your life, right from where you are. The first step is to believe that you can and the next step is to start working on an idea. Start listening to podcasts related to your area of interest. You will begin to learn strategies that you can implement in your own life.
Thanks Shimeka for sharing your story with my readers. As I mentioned earlier I am sure many can relate to your story. You provided some great advice to help those who want to simplify.
If you would like to learn more about Shimeka, check out her blog and podcast which is Design The Life You Want. She also offers one on one coaching for those who want to break free from the employee mindset and take their businesses to the next level. She is also working on her first book so keep an eye out for it. You can also follow them on twitter @shimekism.
To read previous interviews in the series click below
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If you are interested in sharing how you have simplified your financial life, send me an email and I will follow up with you. Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time, take one step at a time to simplify.