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My Love Language Is A Paid Invoice

My heart is ready to serve and this is how I stay ready.

Her Voice

That moment when the teller asked, "How can I help today?", I hurried and told the teller, "Here's how! I got a pen and if passing me that application to open up a business bank account is the best thing you do for anyone today, do it for me." This was the day I opened up my first business bank account.

In that next hour, I could see myself finally relating to a middle-aged woman about grown financials. She needed me in that hour to vent and I needed her in that hour for assistance. I arrived at a local bank with that burning fed-up desire to stop playing myself short.

I had enough of me and these fears and finances after running a side-business for four years. I came across a few different types of clients to finally realize what an "ideal client" really meant and then it became time to take things to the next level. I was honored for this phase of life, and knowingly more confident when a paid invoice came through.

So I pondered, if a new release of The 5 Love Languagescame out for small business owners, maybe — just maybe, this feeling could replace the love language of "receiving gifts" with "paid invoices" for those of us in business. Cause' honey, when that ding sound comes through these money mobile apps—let's just say my love language has been feeling like it's paid invoices for quite some time now.

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Because life is so busy, I became so wrapped up in the joys of my personal life; getting engaged, taking family photos, a family trip, shooting for the stars that I couldn't wait to get back to my passion of writing to release these thoughts. It wasn't hard to discover that this subject might've stayed on my mind for a reason — a reason to pay attention to — as I noticed how fast we were rising as owners and investors in pretty much every industry as a culture.

It took me back to a moment when my ex-boyfriend and I went our separate ways. He tried to get me back in every way he knew how and nothing felt right until I told him that in order to get back together he'd have to enroll in my course and it was filling up fast. Caught off-guard he was but he needed that ego lowered a little bit and I needed his harsh truth, the fit was good at the time. As a Writer and Career Coach who operates a small business full-time, I learned to bet on myself early on. At first, he side-eyed my demand and then pulled out his debit card and booked his spot.

Ding! I felt loved.

Understanding that if he wanted to love me, he needed to support what I believe in. You see me, show me. You know me, put your money where my account is. And he did. We didn't last long after that but what that moment did for my confidence in business starting out was worth the experience.

I know when you're constantly replying something like "over here booking clients" enough to their "what you doing" mid-day texts, someone on the other side should get the picture but many don't. As small business owners, or owners-to-be, it's important to challenge the level of support from our friends, family and lovers.

I've been known to write about the areas we hardly speak about, and this is one. If more people would understand that knowing your worth in money areas and matching it with top-notch quality services or products is allowing your gifts to make room for you, they'd see what I'm talking about.

Showing me love and loving me one way right — is a paid invoice, something that life taught me. Check this! Artificial support is blind to bills and if inquiries and not paid invoices only came — I'd be a broke and broken fool. My heart is ready to serve and this is how I stay ready.

Here are 3 proven strategies you can use to ensure you get your invoices paid to feel loved too.

Set Clear and Non-Negotiable Due Dates

Clear communication is key. Before engaging with a client, you need to make sure you're able to have an open and transparent dialogue with them. When setting a due date, avoid invoicing-terms like "upon-receipt" or giving them a number of days i.e. "due in 15 days, 30 days, etc…". Instead, give your client a physical immediate date. That way, there is essentially no room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Don’t Send the Invoice Without a Conversation First

When setting the date, I find that simply speaking to a client first, whether over the phone for 15 minutes or a voice audio sent through a DM, adds an instant buyer connection for you. Wouldn't you easily see the value in someone when they notice you as a person and not just a transaction?

Find the Right Point of Contact

Being able to identify people's strengths and weaknesses is one of the most valuable assets you can have in life. Some individuals just don't have the wherewithal for understanding how accounting works. That being said, you need to find and engage the right contact when billing your clients. More often than not, there is a quick filter process when it comes to your point of contact. Make sure you're engaging with the individual who is authorized to complete the payment. If you communicate through a middle man, it will only delay the process further.

Desiring to live in the collection of giving and receiving love is mandatory; loving yourself right out loud can lead to a paid invoice. Putting yourself first can lead to a paid invoice. Saying no can lead to a paid invoice and contributing to any conversation can lead to a paid invoice. Let's move the wheel freely back into our lives.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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