At eighteen years old I was an unemployed single mum. It didn’t take me long to realise that I wasn’t going to receive financial support from anyone else and I was solely responsible to provide for my child. I looked at my baby and thought should he suffer because of my choices? The answer was most definitely, no. I didn’t want to rely on a second income or even entertain the notion that I should be in a relationship in order to survive, buy a house and put my child into a private school. All the steps I took next would ensure I would have complete, financial independence.
No more excuses
I couldn’t find full-time work to start off with so I found multiple casual jobs. I walked the streets with Avon catalogues to put in mailboxes and processed the sales from them. I also worked casually for a promotions company, running promotional activities in shopping centres, when I could. This provided me with valuable experience and an income to start my baseline with. Your financial situation is something that can be changed. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. This could mean setting up a spreadsheet to see where every dollar is being spent weekly and asking yourself where can you cut back? Pick up a casual job and set that income aside into savings. Set goals, big and small, and work hard to meet them. Checking achievements off your list is great encouragement and will spur you on to achieve the bigger goals.
We are so lucky to have an abundance of courses available to us. Look for a course that could directly increase your skillset and your income, once qualified. Something that can be beneficial in the long term. You’re never too old to learn new tricks and upskill. While I was working casually for this promotions/events company, my confidence grew and I started to think I could run a business like this, but I could do it even better. So I enrolled in a business course to acquire the relevant knowledge and after that, there was no going back.
Stick to a budget
I eventually wanted to buy a property as opposed to renting one and knew this was going to take time and sacrifices to achieve. I started to look at my purchases like I could buy this dress or I could buy a house. I almost always chose the house over the little purchases. Every dollar was one step towards having my own property. And these small sacrifices were not for nothing, I did get my own property eventually; I built a factory in a booming new estate, where I opened my second business, an Aerial dance studio, where people could come to learn several different aerial dance styles.
Hold yourself accountable, your choices influence your outcome.
Once financial independence was gained, I had the freedom I didn’t have before. Not being beholden to anyone or any relationship for the wrong reasons, being able to choose the work I accepted and peace of mind that my children would be taken care of. I started off with next to nothing, but I took new steps every day to ensure I would never look back and wish I had done things differently, but be proud of all the choices I made and the life lessons learned. We, as women, need to take responsibility for our own financial freedom. We work so hard, every day, in our employment, our relationships, in our homes and families. We deserve financial independence and our children deserve to be inspired by us.
Casey Mackinlay is the author of Girls Don’t Lay Bricks, renowned motivational speaker and director of La Folie, Australia’s first aerial silks competition. For more information visit www.caseymackinlay.com.au