We had the good fortune of connecting with Joshua Lona and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joshua, do you have a budget?
We’re both natural savers but when the pandemic hit in March and we saw the effects of closures and things like social distancing impacting our wedding business we had to do some hard thinking about our personal finances. The fact is that as small business owners our income is never guaranteed, so we went all in on learning how to avoid financial hardship in the future. We were lucky that we had some safety nets in place when the pandemic hit but we realized as mid-twenty year olds that recessions can greatly impact our business. That led us to paying off all our personal debts in 2020. Luckily we only used cash in our business and never had to take our loans or business credit. We are now focusing on saving 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund and intend to spend below our means to ensure that we never jeopardize having to go into debt in the future or go out of business. We love what we do and the thought of losing it drove us to gain financial literacy like never before. Other than saving for our emergency fund, we do have fun too! We set aside a portion of our earnings every payment period to things like a future travel fund and fun money. We found that having a written budget really helps to see how much money we really have to spend on every aspect of life. That was incredibly liberating because we no longer had to worry about spending too much. Now we can just have fun knowing that we have financial peace.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Our primary source of revenue every year is shooting weddings – both photo and video. Until we realized how to market our services in terms of what to invest time, money, and energy into, running our business was so discouraging at times. Our work was better than others who charged more and booked more weddings than us every year. We felt challenged every day to change that and we worked at it for a long time but along that journey we often questioned if we made the right decision to start this business. I’m proud to say today that we figured it out! We really overcame the challenges when we stopped analyzing what the best options were and started doing until one thing worked and stopped doing things that didn’t work. We call it paralysis by analysis. Since we are natural savers we were also scared to spend money to market and learning how to market online was very intimidating at first but there was no reason to think that! It’s actually not hard at all and just takes time and effort. We are proud to have overcome those emotional hurdles and seen our business grow because of it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Austin has a great food scene and plenty of places to visit, so it’s always fun to have visitors. I’d take them to South Congress, walks through downtown, to Zilker park, go to a live music show, and go bar hopping downtown. We’d have to go to the restaurant Peacock which is a new favorite place to eat!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our road to financial peace would not have been possible without finding Dave Ramsey on Youtube and applying his principles to our lives. That greatly helped our personal finances. We learned very simple principles related to our business from a book called Profit First. These two sources helped us accomplish both peace in our personal and business finances. Now, we feel like the world is ours! All we needed was the knowledge of what to do. Implementing was much easier than we thought when you’re motivated and want to get debt out of your life and never let it back in.
Youtube: Joshua and Parisa Austin Wedding Videographer