Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.
Kris Christian began her career as a Wall Street analyst in New York City in 2009. She soon fell in love with the creative marketing side of business and transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship. Kris took the leap of faith to begin FAME Enterprises, an integrated marketing agency offering premium, full-service marketing and production services and specializing in multicultural audiences. Within three years, Kris built FAME into a seven-figure agency, working in partnership with blue chip brands such as BMW of North America, Forbes8, Nielsen, Bumble and Time, Inc. In 2017, Kris wanted to tap into her passion for coffee and created Chicago French Press (CFP). Being a lifelong coffee enthusiast, Kris founded CFP as a way to provide others with freshly roasted coffee beans flavored with natural ingredients to achieve the sweetened taste she enjoyed.
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you first focus on making money. But what you learn along the way, is the power in tapping into your value, that is the true reward. Kris believes that everyone is valuable and when you invest in your ideas, you bring more than money in the bank. You bring wealth into your life. Entrepreneurship is not easy. It takes hard work, discipline, and an understanding that you cannot do it alone. So according to Kris, it is important that while being an entrepreneur, you must have the right people in your corner to support you along your journey. With over 10 years as a full-time entrepreneur, Kris is very adamant on empowering others to create wealth for themselves by sharing her story and encouraging others to start investing in their dreams which will allow them to sustain a life of prosperity.
In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole spoke with Kris about how community, staying humble, investing in your ideas and passions are the keys to maximizing your value into multiple streams of income.
xoNecole: What do you define as “wealth” vs “success”?
Kris Christian: I think that wealth is the total value you're able to create and sustain. Value can be defined in monetary ways, through resources, and how you leave your mark in the world. When you are born into this world, everyone has value. But when you build on your value by creating assets, utilizing networks, and leveraging accessible resources, that is wealth. Now with success, success can be whatever you create it to be. Success can mean you are a great mother or just being a great human being. Anyone can be successful because it's how you expand on what's important to you.
"When you are born into this world, everyone has value. But when you build on your value by creating assets, utilizing networks, and leveraging accessible resources, that is wealth."
Courtesy of Kris Christian
What’s the lowest you’ve ever felt when it comes to your finances?
Early on when I became an entrepreneur, I had a good amount of money saved starting off. I worked on Wall Street and coming out of that, I was used to living a certain lifestyle. Slowly but surely, the money started to decrease (laughs). I think it was year two [into becoming an entrepreneur], and all of my savings were gone. I remember I opened up the refrigerator and there wasn't any food left. I checked my bank account and it was -672 dollars. I thought to myself, 'Wow I can't even afford a sandwich.'
I told myself never again will I allow myself to get to the point. So from that day on, I started being more strategic with my spending habits, changed my perspective on money, and started planning for my future. I even enrolled myself into classes to get my credit score up, to pay down my debt and to live a more frugal lifestyle.
Would you consider yourself a spender or a saver? How did you train yourself to save money?
When I started saving more, I would save in small amounts. I also created a separate account that when I would get paid, 20 percent would be sent to this account that I never touched. As I started to see my savings grow into thousands of dollars, I would then invest in things that retained value. I don't believe in sitting on a ton of money. I believe in making your money work for you. I do have my rainy day fund, but I also would rather use the money I have and invest in assets where extra money can be generated with minimal effort.
"When I started saving more, I would save in small amounts. I also created a separate account that when I would get paid, 20 percent would be sent to this account that I never touched. As I started to see my savings grow into thousands of dollars, I would then invest in things that retained value."
Courtesy of Kris Christian
What are some unhealthy habits or unhealthy mindsets about money that you had to let go of to truly prosper?
I have learned to be a very frugal person. I know that I am a foodie, so you would catch the old me eating out almost every single day. But now I put myself on a budget to only eat out two days a week and hold myself accountable on days I have to cook. I also minimized things like frivolous spending on clothes and jewelry, that are only for show. A lot of us do these things for other people and I had to get out of that mindset.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned through being a business owner and running multiple businesses?
My biggest lesson has been "the know-it-all, knows nothing". You have to be humble when you are running a business or multiple businesses. When I was younger, I told myself that I could teach myself everything and I didn't need a mentor. You think everything you need to know, you can just Google it (laughs). But thinking that way was absolutely ridiculous, because there is always someone who can teach you something. So I make it a priority to always surround myself with people that know more than me. It's about having community and having that support to pour into you and your business. Nowadays, if I am the smartest person in the room, I am in the wrong room.
What is the worst money-related/business-related decision you’ve ever made?
One mistake I made was that when I started off as an entrepreneur, I wanted to be "seen" as successful. I wanted to look the part. I remember going and purchasing my first office space in the middle of downtown Chicago. I didn't have any clients to come to the space, mind you (laughs). I then hired an employee and contractors, with again, no clients! (laughs) I did all of this just to impress other people.
One thing I think society has messed us up with when it comes to entrepreneurship, is that you have to show the world you made it before you actually have the clientele, the case studies, etc. But that's what I did and that is the type of stuff that really hurts you in the long run.
Courtesy of Kris Christian
What were some of the early challenges that came with collaborating with a business partner?
When you collaborate with a business partner, there needs to be a lot of trust. The partnership also has to be mutually beneficial to both people. The biggest challenge I have experienced has been the difference in work ethic. I still have not met someone who can match my work ethic equally. I will wake up at 5 a.m. and go to sleep at 2 a.m. Not to say that that's how you should do things, but it's that level of commitment that is needed to establish a successful business. Both people have to be able to put in the same amount of time and effort.
What’s the best advice that you’ve received about finance during your first year of entrepreneurship?
If you are looking to become a serial entrepreneur, you can do it all, but you cannot do it all at once. If you want to have multiple businesses, they have to go hand in hand. They have to feed into each other or you will get serious burnout doing everything on your own. It is also important to understand the cycles of your businesses as well. For example, my businesses are all about lifestyle and creating experiences.
My event productions were really heavy in the summertime. Chicago French Press' peak season is in the fall and winter. In the beginning of the year, when people are looking more into marketing campaigns with their businesses, that's where FAME Production Group comes into play. So knowing the cycles of your business and being intentional on maximizing each of them at the right time throughout the year is key.
What is the money mantra you swear by?
I don't make money, I create wealth. My business is my canvas and I am the artist, creator and owner of my legacy." I believe my greatest investment is in my ideas which are abundant. Cultivating and shaping those ideas into products, services, platforms and real estate that help others, while also solving problems is how I create value. The return of that investment becomes streams of income and fruitful assets that generate wealth for future generations.
To learn more about Kris Christian, you can follow her on Instagram here.
Featured image courtesy of Kris Christian
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images