July 2014 Archive

running a debt-free business (#5 is a work in progress)


Around the time I started my business was right around the time I started getting serious about getting rid of debt.

I was getting married and was spending a lot of money on the wedding. I’d been in debt before, and it’s no fun to try to crawl out of, so instead of adding more debt, I basically decided I’d ‘get another job’ by starting my own business. Because I was short on cash, it was a necessity to start a business conservatively, and without creating debt. I started my business on these principles because I had to – but have kept those principles in place, because they WORK. I know all businesses can’t be started without big purchases upfront, but creative businesses usually can. There will always be things to buy, but they don’t always have to be purchased upfront. They can be paid for with earned revenue, if you have the option to start small, and slow. I’ve mentioned before, that there is a very low barrier of entry now on starting a business. In fact, there are countless books written about starting lean businesses. I’d love to share a few things with you that helped me start and maintain a lean business. Disclaimer – I’m NOT a professional financial adviser, this is just what worked for me.

1. Bill wisely

Don’t do ANY work until it’s paid for.

To us, this means splitting up payments, and having each one due before the work is performed. When I started my business, I just wasn’t big enough to have ‘credit’ to cover my clients, and bill them later. I used their cash to order the materials, plain and simple. I watched my bosses bill clients, net 30 or 60, and then after non-payment, have to add on finance/late charges… and inevitably they had to hunt them down for payment. They never wanted to pursue it legally, so they just ended up losing the money. I knew that wasn’t even probable for me, so I made it my policy from day one to get paid before the work was done, and it’s served me well I think.

What if a prospective client is not okay with it? They are probably the ones who would find some excuse to not pay you in the end – so stand your ground. You deserve to get paid for your work no matter what. You are a professional, they are leaning on your expertise as a business and your contract should clearly state your terms.

I was talking to a home contractor the other day, who said he also takes payments before ordering materials and work is completed, stating he ran a “debt-free business” and I thought that idea was brilliant. It makes so much sense when you put it that way. Feel free to use that line to anyone who questions your policy. Repeat after me: “I run a debt-free business.”

2. Purchase wisely

I’m an Amazon Prime shop-a-holic in my personal life (anyone else?), but I don’t purchase things for my business on a whim. It has to withstand a few criteria in order to get me to buy. You can use some criteria of your own, to help you decide, but here’s what I ask myself:

First of course – is can I pay for it in cash/debit, or are there payment plans in place to make it so that I can pay in cash? Do I really NEED it? Do I need it NOW? Will it return the investment I put into it within a few months? If it’s a workshop – will it directly make way for me to make more money? Or, is it stress relieving to help with productivity, or will make connections that will open new doors?

I see a lot of people falling in to the trap of things being “tax deductible”. Tax deductible does not mean free. You are still paying for a majority of the object, only a tiny fraction of it is saved on taxes. With that said, if you need something anyway, a tax deduction can be a nice perk. Just remember you’re still paying for about 80% of it. You’d save 80% on that purchase by not making it.

3. Structure wisely

One money killer in business is having a structure or setup that requires too much overhead. Is it okay for you to just stay small? Is it necessary to have a brick and mortar studio? Could you share the office space with others?

Making sure you are the right official business structure can save you money. I recently incorporated and became an S-corp, which will save me money, and also gives me valuable protections that could save me a LOT of money. Consult with a lawyer or CPA to see which structure is right for your situation.

4. Hire wisely

Do you have employees or independent contractors? I have both, and I’m saving money and headaches by having them be the proper classification.

Do you have help at all? A lot of times it actually SAVES money to hire someone at a lower rate than you’d be charging to do the same task. Let me say that again, a lot of times it actually SAVES money to hire someone at a lower rate than you’d be charging to do the same task. Don’t assume it’s cheaper to do something yourself. You should be doing the highest paid items in your business, and giving the least paid (or totally unpaid tasks) to someone else.

Conversely, are you paying TOO many people? I’ve seen some business owners hire out too many people as well. Make sure everyone on your team is doing their job well and efficiently. Perhaps one of your amazing employees can do the job of another less-than-stellar one. You’re doing both them and your business a disservice. They should all be invested in the business success. When your business profits, your employees do too!

5. Choose clients wisely

The single most hefty killer of money and time could be a draining client… Someone who sucks up all your time, or positive energy and gives you nothing in return to fill your cup back up. Someone who does not appreciate you, your services or your talent will be a drain on you fiscally, emotionally and spiritually. It is also doing a disservice to the client if you aren’t in love with them or their project. If you are not a good fit, they won’t be getting the BEST of you. It’s a waste of precious time and energy on both sides.

  • To me, this is the hardest part of business. I naturally want to help everyone, always. I will always be a work in progress in this area because of that. I do try to remind myself that THEY deserve better. There is always a better fit for those type of clients, and to truly help them, sometimes I have to let go.


As always in business, it takes a lot of heart, AND a lot of brain to keep your heart in check. Are you running a lean, debt-free business? Could you do even better?


Tired of trading time for money? Need to develop a system of passive profit that doesn’t depend on you? Have no clue what to offer or how to start? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. Early-bird registration for Create Passive Profits opens VERY soon. Make sure you’re signed up to the DLP newsletter to be first to know when registration opens!



is ‘create passive profits’ e-course right for me?


Let’s face it EntreHustlers (that’s what I’m calling you these days), there are a lot of e-courses on the market right now. I myself have taken way more than I can count. It can drain on your bank account and on your time if you’re not using both wisely. So whenever I choose to take an e-course, it needs to be juicy, to the point, and quite frankly, it needs to return on my investment 10-fold. So I pay special attention before I take a course, to read through the description and see if it truly is the right fit for me. I’m opening early-bird registration NEXT WEEK for Create Passive Profits, and so I thought I’d spend some time today to help you figure out if this course is for you. I’m all for finding the perfect students for this course – because I want everyone to succeed, and really knock it out of the park to stop trading time for money. Creating a passive income stream is not for everyone, it takes some work, but that work really pays off. So is it for you? Ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. How much time do I have to invest in this course?

This course won’t take itself for you. There is time to invest, and the more HEART you put in, the more you’ll get out (notice I didn’t say the more time you put in). With that said, we’re not wasting any time in this course – it’s jam packed with info and we get started by hitting the ground running. The course spans 4 weeks and has 2 video lessons per week, about 30 min each. There are worksheets/homework for you to fill out to personalize your experience and get the answers. The good news is – the time is WORTH IT. You can get a passive income stream started right away. Any time invested in passive income has the opportunity to grow exponentially – remember, the whole premise is that you don’t have to BE there to make the money. You just build the machine, and turn it on.

2. How long have I been in business?

Where you are in business is going to determine which passive profit route you take. In the course we will talk about ALL the types of passive income, and some are more general, while others are very specific. Some are for anyone, others are for professionals only. If you’re just starting a business, or have been in business less than 2 years, I recommend taking the general/easier/most passive path. If you’ve been in business awhile, 3+ years, I would suggest you taking the semi-passive and professional path of developing passive income. When you are first in business, you’re still testing out the waters and may be unsure of your target market of audience, or possibly unsure of what you really want to do. When you’re more established you know these answers well, and you can zero in on those markets and develop some pure niche marketing. The good news is, passive profit can be good for either, and it’s best to start on building it, right where you are.

3. How much passive profit would I like to make?

When it comes to building a passive income, the truth it, it’s not how much TIME you spend, it’s on how SMART you spend it. In the course we talk about the two main sources of creating income – Informational Products (e-books, e-courses, etc) and Physical Products (printed materials, books, etc). We also talk about totally passive income, via affiliates and blogging, and semi-passive income through setting up programs, products and systems which will make you money passively once they are done. Real success in creating passive income lies in identifying what your interests are, where the market needs help, and how to best give it to them. It’s about working SMARTER and not HARDER. You can make passive profits in a lot of ways, but you’ll make the most passive profits when you do it SMARTER.

Does this course sound like a perfect fit for what you’re looking for? If you have any questions on the course, check out the Create Passive Profits info page for more questions and information on the structure, or send me a message!




I’m excited to announce this session we will be offering Create Passive Profits in two ways – 1. with community feedback, and 2. with community feedback PLUS personalized coaching calls. The second option will include personal phone calls with me to help develop your dreams into concrete plans. I’m super excited to add this on for this session. AND… if you took the previous session of CPP, you can re-take the course for free and upgrade to add on the coaching calls with me.


Make sure you’re signed up to the newsletter – once registration opens we’ll have an early-bird only coupon code for an exclusive discount!



create passive profits e-course registration opening soon!

Create a revenue stream that’s not dependent on your time, and is tailored for the CREATIVE business entrepreneur.

Create Passive Profits is a 4-week, online course to help you develop a system to create passive income, so that you are no longer exchanging time for money. Create Passive Profits will help you identify profitable and passive revenue streams to add to your offerings, so that you can free up your time and energy for the things you love. Create Passive Profits will help you decide which information or products are perfect for creative entrepreneurs, how to develop them to their full potential, and start making profits RIGHT AWAY.


Passive income is money that’s created without extensive effort, that can be re-used or resold for reoccurring income. Once it’s developed, and systems are automated, you are no longer limited by time and your sales can exponentially grow with little effort. Create Passive Profits gives you the tools to work less hours and still do what you love!

Are you a creative who:

  • Understands the value of passive profits, but has no idea how to implement them in a creative business?
  • Is afraid of relying too heavily on your current clients or getting new clients for income and stability?
  • Finds your revenue is limited because you only have so many hours in a day?
  • Feels like you have more information or skills to offer the world, but can’t find the time to figure it all out?
  • Would love a flexible schedule and more free time?
  • Wants to diversify your income in case you ever need time off?

Perhaps you are getting busier than ever before, and you are SERIOUSLY worried about sustainability. Maybe you’re feeling limited in how much income you can earn in your current role and with your current offerings. Possibly you’re like most of us, and feel like your true potential isn’t being utilized, but you’re stuck on how to start. This robust e-course will give you the ideas and tools to help you define the perfect passive income offerings FOR YOU, and walk you through the steps on how to start offering them, in just 4 weeks!

Would you like to:

  • Reduce your client dependency?
  • Build a healthy and more consistent cash flow?
  • Create endless revenue stream potential?
  • Use 100% of your creative potential and feel TOTALLY inspired?
  • Broaden your audience and cross-promotional opportunities?
  • Have FUN?

Registration for the Fall Edition is opening early August 2014

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!

Week 1: Smart Passive Income and How it Will Work for YOU

In the first week, you will learn all about passive income and reoccurring revenue streams. You will learn about the different types, including the two major groups, and also some little known others. You will get a great overview of all the possibilities and EXACTLY what it will mean for your business (and for you). We will get you fired up to start this new path by hitting the ground running

Week 2: Identifying Your Direction and YOUR Unique Offerings

In the second week, you will learn how to discover the direction you’d like to take your profits, and exactly how you’re going to do it. I will help you identify what brings you JOY and what ignites your best work. You will learn how to identify market gaps, and what your ideal clients are looking for. You will discover the products or information THEY crave and you will fill the niche and in turn, be able to charge a premium for it.

Week 3: Focusing on Informational Offerings + Taking Action

In the third week, you will learn how all about the potential of informational offerings and how they can create massive revenue streams. I will show you how to use your expertise and smarts to leverage information that others will pay a large premium for. I will show you how to create these offerings, how to price them, and how they can be reused over and over and continually make profits. You will learn how to continue this path and keep creating amazing offerings that blow them out of the water, every time. You will learn how to effectively market your offerings for amazing results.

Week 4: Focusing on Product Offerings + Taking Action

In the fourth week, you will learn how to all about product offerings – both physical and digital. I will show you how to use your strengths and intuition to create products that people love and can’t stop raving about to their friends. You will learn about resources on where to sell your products for maximum profits. You will learn what’s involved in product selling and what will truly make your products stand out from all the others.

Create Passive Profits is taught by Graphic and Web Designer Cathy Olson, owner of the design studio Love-Inspired. She has over 14 years experience as a professional graphic designer, and has worked with a range of businesses – big ones like Disney, Costco, Best Buy and Walmart – to small ones like work-from-home moms, working from a desk and a laptop in the wee hours. Cathy started her own design business over 6 years ago, and in that time has helped hundreds of businesses find their authentic voice through exploration, social media, marketing, graphics, and web. She has dealt first-hand with the juggling a thriving business, being a mom to a growing family, and personal goals. She’s determined to work less and play more – all while cultivating her thirst for art, helping others and using God-given talents. She’s experienced in business, marketing and strategy and LOVES continually learning and teaching others to work less and make more. This class is perfect for designers, photographers, artists and creatives who want to have more free time, have a monetarily healthy and rewarding business, become independent in your business and truly help brighten others lives with your gifts.

Registration for the Fall Edition is opening early August 2014

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!

Let’s FINALLY free up your time, and work smarter to make more money with LESS effort. There is a lot of corporate information out there on passive income, but it’s hard to figure out how to apply it to CREATIVE businesses. You will finally be able to identify a clear route towards developing a passive revenue stream JUST FOR YOU. You will learn how to develop the information and products that people WANT from you.


I’m so busy. Can I register, but start it later when I know things will have quietened down? The course spans over 4 weeks and is very robust. Each week we will have lessons and worksheets, and you can do them in your spare time. You will also have access to the private Facebook group to bounce your ideas off of. We are packing a lot of information into 4 weeks, so you can absolutely take longer at each step if you need to. You will be able to download all the content and access the course site for at least three months after the program finishes.

What kind of teaching can I expect in the course? What’s included? The Create Passive Profits e-course is content and resource rich. Enrolling in Create Passive Profits includes full access to the online classroom, video tutorials, Q&A and worksheets to identify your unique offerings, as well as access to a private Facebook group where you can connect and share with your classmates and get feedback directly from Cathy. After 4 weeks, you will have the potential to start developing your products right away.

When does the class start? Registration opens early August 2014! Class begins Monday August 18, 2014. You’ll be able to download all content and access the course site for at least three months after the program finishes.

Does the course meet at a certain time? Does it matter what part of the world I’m in? Create Passive Profits is a virtual course, you can participate from anywhere at anytime! Lessons will be posted online throughout the week, and you can log into the course at any time to view them.

How much time can I expect to spend on the course? You’ll get new content on the course site throughout the week, M-F. We’ll start with a lesson, then a worksheet, some observation and testing, and then end the week with resources to explore on your own. You can expect to spend anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes reviewing the content and completing the exercises and work for the class each day, depending on the length of the lesson. Some people may work through the content more quickly, and others may want to spend more time. All the content will help you develop your personalized plan by the end of the Create Passive Profits e-course.

How are payments handled? Payment is securely processed via PayPal and can be made using your PayPal balance or credit card. Please note that all course correspondence will be sent to the email address associated with your PayPal account. To use a different email address, please forward your PayPal invoice to cathy@love-inspired.com.

Other questions? Email me at cathy@love-inspired.

Registration for the Fall Edition is opening early August 2014

Class starts on Monday, August 18, 2014, and class size is limited, so make sure you grab your spot!

3 ways to hold on to your biz when craziness strikes


If there’s anything that’s common amongst my friends, colleagues and clients, it’s that this summer has been straight up CHAOS. Do you feel me friends? It seems like everyone I talk to is having a period of craziness. I’ve heard mercury is in retrograde but honestly, I have no idea what that means. I just see a lot of people going through a lot of crazy things lately.

To the creative entrepreneur, there is so much more at stake when the crazy hits.

Our businesses and everything we work for are on the line. Some days it feels like we are completely under attack.

Whether you’re pregnant, just had a new baby, suffered a job loss, bought a home, went out on your own – it all adds up to our own little slice of crazy. I was (still am) 100% there right now. We had a new baby in May and bought our first home in June – and really a million other crazy things that happened all at the same time. So does this asteroid ball of crazy mean that our businesses have to suffer? Absolutely not. Here’s 3 ways to navigate the turbulent waters and make sure your business comes out intact.

1. Remember what really matters

Yes, our businesses matter. They matter A LOT. But by focusing on the things that really make up the fabric of who we are and what we care about, we can really start to put things in perspective. If we think about the worst thing that could happen in our business, we realize, we will still survive. We still have our loved ones and our families and friends. That’s all that truly matters. It helps to take the pressure off a bit to think of those things instead.

2. Work on working less – creating passive income

This is super important if you’re entering into a pattern of crazy that will take up most of your time. Most of us cannot just afford to stop working or to take an impromptu vacay while our crazy gets sorted out. I am a huge advocate of creating passive income for these times. If you currently have a passive income stream, crazy times are the times to start boosting it, to give yourself that safety net. If you don’t yet have a passive stream of income set up, do yourself a favor and get one going (or check out my Create Passive Profits class coming soon, I know some of you have asked me about it).

3. Know that you are a bona-fide Entre-Hustler

I know that sounds funny – but I got the best advice from a close friend when I was worrying about my business a couple months ago. I told them I was worried about all these what-ifs, and they told me, “You’ll work it out. You’re a hustler.” What they meant is – I’m an creative entrepreneur, and I will figure it out. If something doesn’t work – we then adapt and test things until it does work. That’s the beauty of running your own business isn’t it? You control your destiny. You are a Entre-hustler (I think I just made up a new word) and you will figure it out.

So remember, no need to let the crazy get to you when the crazy hits. Have a plan – or make one now – and believe in yourself when these times happen. This too shall pass, and you’ll come out better than ever and ready to tackle the next round of crazy!



Wondering how to develop a passive income stream in YOUR businesses for the crazy times? This is exactly why I developed the e-course, Create Passive Profits. There is information out there on how to begin, but it’s very general and super muddled. I’ve worked hard to devour all the information, speak to those currently doing it, and clean it up in an easy to understand and customizable way for CREATIVE businesses. There’s a lot of junk information out there, car salesman type techniques and just generally outdated information. I created a course that I wish was out there! This course will help you to develop the idea and hit the ground running with it. Early-bird registration for Create Passive Profits opens very soon. Make sure you’re signed up to the DLP newsletter to be first to know when registration opens!



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