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Creative Entrepreneur
Monique Melton: Pay Yo’ Self

Monique Melton: Pay Yo’ Self

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Monique Melton is creative and incredibly insightful. She is an award winning creative artist, strategic thinker, a natural big dreamer and an exceptional brand strategist. She is a deeply rooted woman of faith, passionately committed wife & mother and a devoted creative entrepreneur with a humble abundance of knowledge and experience. She strives to turn up the bright of passionate entrepreneurs looking to live a purpose driven and passion fueled life.  She works with entrepreneurs that are ready to grow and expand their business. They’ve reached their limit, but know there’s more, something bigger, but they’re not quite sure how to get there. She has a comprehensive approach to brand development & marketing strategy development that focuses on equipping entrepreneurs to tap into their authentic voice to develop a brand that shines bright, stands-out, and attracts their ideal clients. So they can really make a positive impact in their lives and in lives of others. She focuses on giving her clients the tools to build compelling and distinct brands that are representative of the heart behind the brand and connects with the heart of their ideal clients.

She has a BA in social science with an emphasis in Sociology and Psychology and two years of graduate education in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins.  She combines her 10 years of experience of being an entrepreneur in the wedding/beauty/retail industry with her education and real-world experience to provide comprehensive brand development for her clients.  From defining who you are as an entrepreneur, to developing the foundation of the brand, to creating systems and structure, to developing new products and services and an incredible client experience, Monique focuses on building a dynamic brand.

Monique absolutely loves seeing people win by living a life filled with passion and purpose; that’s a life that’s fully connected with God, others and purpose and that’s winning in her book. When you feel like you’re failing and not hitting the mark, it’s easy to feel like giving up and to lose hope.  Monique has been there.  She knows what it’s like to feel like giving up on yourself and to almost lose hope, so she’s here to remind you that you matter…and don’t stop now. Monique wants to help people win so they can feel alive, connected and passionate about living a purpose-driven life.  A life that is about making a real difference & building real community.  One that stands for something. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

What are your income streams that make up your business revenue?

Private one-on-one consulting, group courses, masterminds, speaking and training, & Periscope corresponding?

Do you plan your revenue goals for the year at the beginning of the year? If so how do you come up with that number?

Yes, I plan at the beginning of the year.  I create a list of all of the income streams and all of the additional streams/offerings I intend to create and do estimates of what I project to bring in based on previous year and goals.

With an idea of what you will make in the next year, is your next step to budget? What does your budget usually include/look like? 

Yes, I have this activity that I give my clients to help with this too. I like to consider my expenses and plan from there. Expenses include things like marketing collateral, networking, website, meals, education, etc.

How do you decide how much to pay yourself?

When I first started my business my only income stream was one-on-one consulting, now I have six streams and will be adding two more.  So, in the beginning I took myself through a process I created to determine how many hours I wanted to work (total), how many hours I could bill for (the one-on-one structure generated the only source of income for my brand at the time), industry rates, expenses and considered how much I could charge per hour. Now I still base things off of my hourly rate, but adjust for industry standards, experience, the product and the market for the different income streams.

When did your business start paying you? How much was your personal budget getting paid?  

Right away, but I was investing a lot of it back into the business.   I didn’t start my business with any loans or credit, so I was able to pay myself soon after starting, so all of the personal budget was being paid—but I can’t say I had much of a personal budget in the beginning.  I had a wish list, so I was able to get those things.  Because, we are a dual income household, we base all of our necessary personal budget expenses off of one income.

What portion of your business is spent on education/professional development each year?

I buy a lot of books, but they aren’t very pricey, so I wouldn’t say a very large portion is spent on this, as of now.  However, I’ll be attending more conferences this year and will also be hiring a coach this year, so that portion will increase somewhat this year.  I believe that investing in yourself is the best investment you can make for you brand, other than investing in your team.

How much money do you put into savings (in your business) & how do you decide on that number?

I pour a large percentage of my money into my business savings because I want to have the money available when I want to make business purchases.  Because I don’t use credit or loans, what I make has to also cover all of the expenses…so I have to save.

Do you or have you started to work with a book keeper or an accountant? If yes, when did you take that leap? 

I’ve always worked with a CPA for taxes, but this year—later in the year, I’m planning to work with one more on-going.

What fears did you have around making or spending money in the first few years in business?

I feared if the expense would be worth it—I still struggle with this.  I work hard and sacrifice time away from my family and friends so I can be devoted to the vision, so anytime I make an investment I want to be sure that it’s going to be worth it for me.

How do you and your business account for the variable income nature that entrepreneur business revenue can be?

Don’t spend every dollar you make.  I used to do that when I was first starting out as an entrepreneur, almost 11 years ago and that was a big mistake.  Now, I’ve learned that setting money aside and saving it helps account for those times when the revenue isn’t as much as you would want it to be. When I started my business as a brand strategist in November of 2014, I wasn’t making very much in the beginning.  I was still getting my systems in place and establishing and refining my strategy. But as I got into a groove and really spent time taking myself through my process that I created, I began steadily and increasingly growing.  I’m excited to see the growth and I’m a true testament of building a brand on a shoe string budget.  It can be done.

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