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
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After reading once that a whopping 80 percent of women are dissatisfied with their appearance, I knew that an article like this had to be written. Because if there’s one thing that I’ve seen women (especially on social media) seem to almost obsess over — it’s their ass. It’s not big enough, not firm enough, not like-someone-else’s enough. Goodness.
As far as my relationship with my own booty, although I’ve had moments when I wish that it was a lil’ plumper, once I made peace with its natural shape (yes, booties come in different shapes, y’all) and I became more intentional about giving it some TLC — chile, I’m happy and at peace with what God gave me. Now it’s my mission to get others to feel the same way…starting with asking each and every one of you if you actually have an official butt care regimen. And if not, why not?
If the reason is that you’ve never considered creating one before and/or you don’t know what that kind of self-care routine would even look like, here are 15 things that can help you to totally fall in love with that butt of yours.
1. Know Your Shape
I’m just speaking for myself when I say that it really is kind of sad, the amount of stress, potential health risks, and expenses some people will go through to alter their body without taking the time to consider that there really is no perfect body or even body type. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective — including when it comes to our butts.
Although it’s not discussed nearly enough, believe it or not, booties come in four different types: square-shaped, heart-shaped, inverted/V-shaped, and round-shaped. So, if you’ve been damn near killing yourself to create a bubble butt, thinking that something is wrong with you for not having one, understanding that there are different kinds of butts, to begin with, is the first thing that you should probably marinate on.
2. Then Know Which Panties Best Complement It
Once you’ve (hopefully) made peace with learning about your specific butt shape, the next thing you should do is take your created-that-way-and-that’s-totally okay derriere panty shopping to find ones that complement your particular shape best. From what I’ve read and researched, “squares” look best in boy shorts and bikini cuts, “hearts” need high-waisted bikinis, “inverted” also needs boy shorts and round butts look great in thongs.
3. Do Regular Dry Brushing
Every part of our body could stand to be exfoliated; that’s because every part sheds tons of dead skin cells on a daily basis. When it comes to your butt, dry brushing is a great way to go. Although you might’ve heard that it can get rid of cellulite, there is actually quite a bit of debate around that. What is certain is it’s a practice that will remove dead skin cells, increase blood circulation, and also slightly “plump up” the areas where cellulite resides, which can make the cellulite appear less visible and make your butt appear a teeny-weeny bit fuller too.
4. Use a Benzoyl Peroxide Wash
Typically, what causes pimples on the butt is inflamed hair follicles that can come from dead skin cells, sebum, or even yeast or some sort of fungus. If this is something that you struggle with, you might want to try washing that part of your body with a body wash that has benzoyl peroxide as a top ingredient in it. It’s effective when it comes to breakouts because it kills acne bacteria that lingers beneath your skin’s surface while clearing out dead skin cells, too. Stylecraze has a list of body washes with benzoyl peroxide in them that you may want to check out here. Just make sure to keep the body wash away from your vagina/vulva; that ingredient is too harsh for that particular area.
5. Try Some Centella Asiatica
If you’ve never heard of Centella Asiatica before, don’t feel bad — a lot of people haven’t. Yeah, don’t get me started on how Westernized medicine continues to get the side-eye from me because it seems to want to make money more than fully educate people on their health and well-being options (le sigh). Anyway, Centella Asiatica is a plant that is big in Africa, Asia, and Ayurvedic as well as traditional Chinese medicine due to its ability to reduce inflammation, treat symptoms that are associated with eczema and psoriasis and profoundly moisturize skin. Since it contains properties that reduce oxidative stress, it’s also great for slowing down the signs of aging in your skin as well — and since butt skin ages just like the rest of your body does…it couldn’t hurt to add it to your health regimen.
If you’re wondering how best to consume it, for the record, it also goes by the names Gotu Kola and Tiger Grass. Look for these in tea form and drink it a couple of times a week for the best results (so long as you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding and you don’t have liver issues).
6. Get Some Coffee into It
Although I’m not much of a coffee drinker, I do use coffee grinds on my skin from time to time. The properties in it are pretty effective when it comes to softening the appearance of cellulite, reducing inflammation, preventing breakouts, and giving skin a huge boost of antioxidants. I guess that’s why, when it comes to a moisturizer brand that is super popular and keeps butts super soft, Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream reigns supreme — because, for one thing, it contains caffeine. Now, I’ll be honest: it ain’t cheap, so if you want to try a more affordable DIY route, there’s a recipe for coffee-toning body butter here and coffee-based anti-cellulite lotion here.
7. And/Or Exfoliate with Low-Grade Glycolic Acid
Although glycolic acid has been around for a while now, it’s getting quite a bit of attention these days as more and more folks are experimenting with at-home chemical peels. If you didn’t know, this is a type of acid that comes from sugar cane and falls into the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) category. It’s great for skincare because it is an awesome exfoliant, it heals some of the damage that UV rays tend to cause, unclogs pores, stimulates the production of collagen, and helps to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. My personal two favorite things about this particular acid are it helps to even my skin tone out at almost record speed, and it leaves my skin feeling really smooth, too.
So, if you’re looking for something that will “repair” your butt from the summer heat swimsuit weather while also making it extra pretty to look at and feel on, applying a low-grade glycolic acid once a month (or so) wouldn’t hurt things one bit.
8. Firm Up Sagging Skin with Tamanu Oil
Remember how I said earlier that your butt’s skin ages like everywhere else? If you’re starting to notice some signs of that and you want to naturally firm things up a bit, try some tamanu oil. In the article, “We Lose Collagen As We Age. 10 Ways To Naturally Boost It.,” a big part of the reason why I gave it the shout-out that I did is because this type of oil has a solid reputation for helping your body produce collagen. And since collagen helps to bring elasticity to the skin, it’s definitely something that can be relied upon to firm some of the subtle signs of sagging right on up.
9. Take Some Vitamin D
It’s no secret (to many of us) that when it comes to those who run the highest risk of having a vitamin D deficiency, it’s our (Black) people. That’s because the natural melanin that’s in our skin has a more challenging time synthesizing this nutrient from the sun. Since Vitamin D is a nutrient that strengthens our bones, reduces the risk of cancer, decreases inflammation, fights off free radicals, and helps to prevent/heal scarring alopecia, we’ve got to be proactive about getting more of it into our system. And that’s why it’s important to consume things like fortified orange juice, egg yolks, salmon, portabella mushrooms, and yogurt.
And why should your butt care about vitamin D? Since it also helps your body to better absorb calcium, which is essential for muscle contractions during workouts, and since those contractions are what help your butt to “grow” — if you are an exercise enthusiast, there’s no way around the fact that vitamin D is an absolute must-have and must take.
10. Consume (More) Protein
Your butt is comprised of glute muscles, and muscles need protein in order to grow. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have a diet that consists of protein. Off top, meat is a great source. However, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, there are other foods that can get you what you need in this department. You can find a few of them in our article, “Vegetarian Or Vegan? Check Out These High Protein Foods.” Oh, and if you’re someone who would prefer to intake protein as you exercise, many experts say that protein shakes work in your favor after working out, and protein bars are fine, so long as you don’t constantly rely on them as a daily meal replacement — oh, and that you keep in mind that many of them are somewhere between 200-350 calories per serving (read those labels, y’all).
11. Remember Your Squats and (Hip) Thrusts
You already know that there is no way that we can discuss “butt care” without bringing up exercise. And although you are probably already well aware that squats are a great way to build up your glutes, there is something that must be taken into consideration before going completely ham on them. For starters, squats do a lot of things — they strengthen your core and bones, give the lower part of your body more power, increase mobility, burn calories, and, yes, they help to tone your muscles, including the ones in your butt.
However, if you’re looking for them to make your butt look huge, you’ve got to keep the type of butt that you have in mind and what kind of shape your body is in overall. Because what squats are gonna do, more than anything, is burn calories first and get your butt toned next. All this is to say that a “bubble butt” is not a guarantee for all. As far as hip thrusts go, they’re awesome because they are able to increase bone density, improve your balance, and strengthen the muscles that are in your hips, thighs, and glutes. For tips on how to do squats correctly, go here. For hip thrust tips, go here.
12. Work on an Exercise Ball (at Least Sometimes)
Now ain’t this some ish? As if it wasn’t enough to know that “sitting is the new smoking,” once upon a time, Insider published an article with this headline: “Turns out that sitting at a desk all day can actually ruin your butt.”
Long story short, not only does sitting down nonstop, for hours on end, end up literally changing the shape of your butt, but it can also lead to back pain and muscle atrophy. So, what do they recommend that you do? Maintain good posture while you’re in your chair, and try squeezing your glutes for a few minutes every couple of hours.
That way, you won’t be “flattening” it as much.
13. Invest in a LED Light
With more and more research coming out about the holistic benefits of LED light therapy, I thought it would be important to give it a shout-out here. If you didn’t know, the combination of red and blue lights can help to treat everything from eczema and wrinkles to hair loss and mild bouts of acne. That said, you might want to consider massaging your buttocks with an LED light device (like this one here) a couple of times a week because, although red LED will not remove cellulite, because it stimulates collagen production, it can help to soften the appearance of it over time. Another thing that could improve the appearance of your backside.
14. Sleep Naked with a Humidifier
Back in 2019, Cosmo published an article entitled “How Following This Intense Sleep Routine Helped One Woman Build Her Butt.” Although it honestly didn’t get into how/why exercise influencer Johanna Devries felt that getting 10 hours of sleep every night (along with exercising) played a direct role in her booty gains, it caused me to look deeper into the correlation between sleep and having a nice-looking butt. From what I’ve read, sleep deprivation can result in the loss of muscle mass, and it can also make your muscles weaker over time. Meanwhile, good sleep has the ability to improve the quality of your workouts — so there goes three more reasons to treat it as a necessity, not a luxury.
And since sleeping with a humidifier can reduce snoring, soften your skin and improve your quality of rest, help your butt out by catching some zzz’s, naked, with your humidifier on. Hell, why not?
15. Love Your Butt. No Matter What.
It was former President Theodore Roosevelt who once said that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and if a lot of us were honest with ourselves, the (main) reason why we struggle with body image is because we’re looking at what other people have. Listen, a part of the reason why I’ve written articles for the platform like “These 10 Hacks Will Help You Love Your Body More” is because I’m a firm believer that there is nothing that can top an original — and since all of us are one of those…you know what that means…right? Who can top you?
Moral to the story: When it comes to cultivating a butt care regimen, it’s not about getting a booty that looks like someone else’s. Uh-uh. It’s all about taking good care of the ORIGINAL ONE that you have and then loving on it well. Sis, when it comes to the butt that the Creator gave you…please make sure that you do, starting with these tips and building from there!
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Featured image by ascg Photography/Getty Images