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 spend it.
Self-proclaimed "Olivia Pope of Branding" Timeesha Duncan is no stranger to saving her finances. With a savings plan incorporating putting away 20% of what she earns per month into her savings, which she invests into a high-yield savings account, this personal brand strategist and experiential consultant is successfully developing generational wealth. Today, Timeesha is recognized as an international best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, brand marketing expert and educator who helps transform their ideas into income, monetize their genius, build strong sense of communities and social impact through leadership.
The Atlanta, Georgia resident by way of Bronx, New York has a strong belief that people should quit codependency when it comes to relying on others to fill financial gaps and not relying too much on the social security boat to pull into the dock. By building a lucrative Instagram brand and parlaying that into public speaking, writing and coaching, Timeesha left the C-Suite of Coca-Cola after her nine-year tenure to rake in the profits for herself and her family - ultimately taking control of her income and her finances by the reins. She is currently a podcast host alongside her husband on Fix My Brand and co-founder of national workshops The Mogul Builder and The Bombshell Experience.
In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole spoke with Timeesha Duncan on letting go of unhealthy money mindsets, wealth being more than having physical capital and splurging on a coach to elevate her business.
Courtesy of Timeesha Duncan
On her definitions of wealth and success:
"Wealth to me is not just having physical capital, but having worth, assets, and possessions that accumulate value over time. Success is being able to accomplish things that make you happy. It's not about reaching a certain level of income or status. If you are happy at what you've accomplished, you're successful."
On the lowest she’s ever felt when it came to her finances and how she overcame it:
"Three weeks after I left my corporate job, I made $12,000 from an online course I created. It felt awesome. However, my next course flopped. I had put in all this work and not a single person bought the course. Right around the same time, my mortgage was due and I had -$67 in the bank. I didn't have another product to sell, no income and no hope. I would literally just stare at my computer hoping some bright idea would fall from the sky to help get me back on track but it didn't. I would look at others in my industry, who appeared to be killing it, and yet I was sitting on the sidelines. I went into a deep depression. I was stuck and couldn't get out of it. My ability to create was gone. I started to regret the decision I made to quit my job. I lost my motivation and had to file for unemployment to help me get back on my feet.
"My mind wanted to give up, but my heart kept tugging at me to keep going. My family pushed me to rediscover my talents, stop feeling sorry for myself, and get to work. I started revisiting comments, and emails from previous clients on how I helped shape their business and changed their lives. This helped to recharge me. So I decided to give it another shot. The next course I created made over $25K which was double what I made the last time. That was the reassurance I needed to keep going."
On her biggest splurge to date:
"I spent over $60K on a coach to help me grow my business. I was excited about working with this particular coach because I felt she could take my brand to superstar status."
Courtesy of Timeesha Duncan
"I made $12,000 from an online course I created. It felt awesome. However, my next course flopped. I had put in all this work and not a single person bought the course. Right around the same time, my mortgage was due and I had -$67 in the bank. I didn't have another product to sell, no income and no hope. I would literally just stare at my computer hoping some bright idea would fall from the sky to help get me back on track but it didn't. I would look at others in my industry, who appeared to be killing it, and yet I was sitting on the sidelines. I went into a deep depression. I was stuck and couldn't get out of it."
On whether she’s a spender or a saver:
"I'm definitely a spender. I have always had a hard time saving money. If I see something I want, I buy it. I learned over the years that I had a bad relationship with money and I needed to reverse it or I would be broke forever (laughs). I love money and numbers but not accounting."
On her savings goals and what retirement looks like to her:
"I want to be able to save at least $15K-$30K each month. Retirement looks like me having seven-figures in the bank, several investment properties, and a house on a beach."
On the importance of investing:
"Investing is very important to me because I don't want my children to ever need or want for anything if something happens to me. I've had investment properties in the past and currently looking for more to acquire, and recently started investing in stocks and trading."
On her budget-friendly must-haves:
"I'm actually a budgetnista. I enjoy finding great things on a budget. I shop at thrift stores a lot to find low-cost, one-of-a-kind items. My press-on nails are my biggest budget must-have. I can't live without them. I have been wearing press-on nails for over a year now which has saved me about $720/year on getting my nails done twice a month. I used to also spend about $300/month on my lashes. I found the perfect lash strips from Walmart that cost me $4.88 and those are also a must-have. I check Amazon first before I buy anything, which also helps to save on items."
Courtesy of Timeesha Duncan
"My intention behind having multiple ways to make money came from me not wanting to run out of it. As a business owner, I realize that every business has seasons. When I started my business I only had one offer, and when that 'season' was slow, I wasn't making any money. So I needed to create different ways for others to work with me. I also wanted to meet my clients where they were."
On her intentions behind multiple streams of income:
"I provide 1-1 coaching, which is a more personal experience for my VIP clients and corporations, I also have online courses, books, a membership program, speaking engagements, and brand sponsorships. My intention behind having multiple ways to make money came from me not wanting to run out of it. As a business owner, I realize that every business has seasons. When I started my business I only had one offer, and when that 'season' was slow, I wasn't making any money. So I needed to create different ways for others to work with me. I also wanted to meet my clients where they were. Some are not ready for the 1-1 experience just yet and want other ways to experience working with me."
On unhealthy money habits and mindsets:
"I always looked at money as 'the root of all evil', or that money was limited because 'money doesn't grow on trees'. And therefore, subconsciously I felt bad when I made a lot of money. Maybe that's why I could never keep it. I eventually realized that those are not true and were just sayings that were fed to me by my parents because that's what was told to them. Changing my view of money and inviting it into my atmosphere, instead of pushing it away has truly helped me to prosper. I started making more money and it would come from places I wouldn't even expect. When I'm closed off, the money faucet closes too."
On her money mantra:
"You only live once. Buy the shoes."
On the craziest thing she’s ever done for money:
"I was hosting a conference and didn't have enough money to pay for all the expenses so I took out a title loan on my car. I regretted that because the interest rate was super high, and I never paid the loan off. It took me years to get my title back."
On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:
"Investing $60K in a coach. I wouldn't say it was the worst decision I made, but I honestly wasn't ready for that type of coach. I invested the money because I thought this person was going to give me a 'magic pill' to success. It took a while before I realized there is no such thing as a magic pill. I would have invested that money so differently, if I had hindsight 20/20 back then."
Courtesy of Timeesha Duncan
"Changing my view of money and inviting it into my atmosphere, instead of pushing it away has truly helped me to prosper. I started making more money and it would come from places I wouldn't even expect. When I'm closed off, the money faucet closes too."
On her budget breakdown:
How much do you spend on eating out/ordering in?
"I love to cook, but staying in the house for six months has me tired of looking at (and cleaning) my stove. We've been ordering out a lot lately. So feeding a family of four a couple of times a week is about $125."
"Excited that I will be paying off my S550 this month, so goodbye car note! Corona has helped a lot with keeping gas expenses down, but it's about $60 to fill up with premium gas, so I would say about $120 -$150 a month."
"Massage Membership, $100/month. Pedicure every two weeks, $50/month. Eyebrows maintenance every two weeks, $20/month. Haircuts and products, $75/month. Drinks with the girls twice a month, $100. If Amazon or Sephora bullies me into buying something I don't need, $100/month."
For more of Timeesha, follow her on Instagram.
Featured image courtesy of Timeesha Duncan
Originally published in September 2020
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.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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Featured image by Stephen Zeigler/Getty Images