The Framework to Going Debt Free: What I Would Do if Starting Over

Join me as I walk you through my step-by-step framework to becoming debt free. The same steps I would take if doing it all over again.

I am so excited to talk about today’s topic because this is something that I am really passionate about. You’re probably going to hear me say that every single time, but this is something that I’ve worked really hard to get into words and down on paper. That way I can help more people.

So the goal of this episode is going to be to walk you through my framework. Basically, if I were to go back and do it all over again from scratch, here’s exactly framework that I would follow. 

And when I say go back to the beginning, I’m talking about going back to 2021. When I officially made the decision. Actually, I think I made the decision that I was probably going to leave the classroom back in 2020. But go back to that year.

If I were to do it all over again, here is the exact framework I would follow. 

I want to talk about this because I finally made a resource for you that you can download. It’s called Ditch the 9-5 and go debt free, and it’s free.

Basically, this is going to help you navigate that next season of your life. Whether you want to leave the classroom, whether you want to make more money, whatever it is that your goal is, this framework is going to show you exactly and explain exactly how I did it. What I would have done if I were to do it all over again. 

I don’t know about you, but whenever I go through a life experience, I’m always looking back on it and going, man, if I had known then what I know now, I would do X, Y and Z differently. As a teacher, I would do that all of the time.

My first year teaching, I did things one way and then the next year I would look back and go, okay, that didn’t work or that worked really well. Let’s tweak it x, Y and Z. I love doing that. 

Whether it was in the classroom or in life in general, I’m always looking back on the past in a positive way and trying to figure out how I can be better. How I can grow from that experience. 

And if I were to ever do it again, or ever be in that same exact situation or experience, here is the framework I would use and what I would do differently.

Get Clear on Your Vision and True Passion

The funny thing is, life doesn’t work that way. And for good reason. 

We are made to live and learn. We are made to go through experiences that shape and develop us. You always learn more as you go and learn by doing and experiencing life as it happens.

But if I had known then what I know now, here’s exactly what I would have done to ditch my 9-5 and go debt free. 

The first step in the framework I would do if I was to go back to 2020-2021, when I made that decision that I was unhappy in my career and unhappy in my situation, I would have sat down and really got clear on my vision and my true passion. 

At the time, I had no idea what it was that I wanted to do. I’ve always had this calling on my heart and knew that I wanted to help people. That was why I went into teaching. 

I was like, okay, great I can help these children. And when that was not working for me, I struggled because I was thinking, what am I going to do now to fulfill that passion, to further that purpose in my life? 

At the time, I was really just doing things aimlessly to earn extra money.

I liked a lot of the things that I was doing, but I wasn’t truly passionate about them. It wasn’t where I wanted my life to go long term. So if I were to go back, I would definitely get clear on who it is I want to serve, how I want to serve them. 

What is the vision for my own life long term and short term? What are my values and beliefs and how do I want to use those as I transition into this new career?

Bring Your Vision to Life

The second step in the framework I would have done was after that journaling, after figuring out and getting clear on what it is I wanted to do, who it is I wanted to serve, I would have made that idea come to life. 

At the time, I was doing a bunch of side jobs (if you go back and listen to the very first episode, I talk about this). I was involved in an MLM, and I was convinced that that MLM was my ticket out the door. I thought that I was going to be doing that long term, and that that was my true passion and the vision for my future and for my life.

God had a different way of going about that and taking that out of my heart and getting me on the right path. But at the time, I really thought that that was what I wanted to do, even though I had some things in my heart telling me that maybe this isn’t what you should be doing. 

I was going against the grain, and I was doing it anyway. I don’t recommend doing that! 

But had I done step one by finding my true vision and finding my passion, I would have researched, found ways to make that come to life. Make my idea of helping people and helping women. At the time, it probably wasn’t moms, but helping other teachers get out of debt, leave the classroom, and so forth.

Here’s the thing, and if nobody’s ever told you this before, I’m going to tell you, and I want you to believe it when I say it. 

You can literally do anything and everything that you choose to and that you set your mind to. 

If you have that big dream, if you have that big goal, you can do it. I promise! 

And if somebody has told you that you can’t, those are not the kind of people that you need in your life.

I’m all for dreaming big. I’m all for working hard. So if you have a vision and you have a passion in your life, make that idea come to life and do it. No idea is too crazy. There’s nothing that’s too far out of reach or out of touch.

I promise that you can make your idea come to life. 

There’s no limits on your goals, on what you want to do with a business idea. Even if the business idea that you have come up with, I promise it’s okay to be different and it’s okay to do something that maybe not a lot of people are doing that makes you unique, that makes your idea unique. 

There is something out there for everybody. 

Reverse Engineer Your Goals

Most of these framework steps, as I’m sure you’re noticing, I did do. I’m just telling them to you in a way where I’m refining them a little bit and making the steps a little more clear. 

I did all of these things. I just would have taken more time and more thought the second time around if I were to do it ever again. 

So the third step in the framework would be to reverse engineer your goals.

Figure out how you’re going to earn an income and how much money you need to make to walk away from whatever it is that you want to walk away from. Your corporate job, your teaching life. Maybe you don’t want to walk away from anything, but you’re a stay at home mom that wants something for herself to be more fulfilled. 

Reverse engineer your money goals, your goals in general, and figure out what you need to do to get there.

Here is the thing. People will literally pay for anything. And that’s a fact. 

If someone sees you as a person of authority and sees you as somebody that can add value to their life, they will invest in you. 

For me, when I was trying to leave the classroom, I first of all looked at our debt and I said, if I could have this paid off by the end of 2021, then that would eliminate X amount of our monthly expenses, whether that was going to decrease our budget by $500, $1,000, $200.

Whatever it is, figure out what things that you can eliminate from your monthly budget. Eliminate from your expenses to get that month to month cost down. 

The same goes with your debt. 

So we had $53,000 worth of debt.

I divided that by twelve and I was like, okay, that is going to be how much is that a month? That was X amount each month. 

As long as we can continue paying X amount off each month, then we should definitely hit our goal by the end of 2021. 

Market Yourself Once You Find Your Passion

The fourth step in the framework I want to mention is you have to market yourself once you have decided on who it is you’re going to serve, what your vision is, what your true passion is, and how you’re going to make that come to life.

You know how much money you need to make or what things you need to eliminate from your monthly expenses. Now you actually need to go out there and make the money, make an income from this idea. 

In order to do that, you have to market yourself like the pro that you are. Use your sphere of influence. Use social media as a tool and share with others what you’re doing.

Everybody has a network. Everybody has what we call a sphere of influence to get news and information out to these people. Think mom, dad, family, friends, coworkers, people that you went to school with and so forth. 

Be confident in yourself, this new idea, and in this new offer and tell everybody what it is that you’re doing. I promise when people see that you’re passionate about something, they want to support you.

And even if it’s just a simple share of a post or a comment saying congratulations or this is so exciting, you never know what one share can do. You never know who they may know. If they share something to their profile or to their story. You may never know who will see it on their end. 

So be confident in this new idea and in this new thing that you want to do and try and get it out there into the world. I know that is totally easier said than done, but sometimes you have to fake it.

Even if you are scared shitless, you want to pee your pants, that means you’re doing something right. 

I always say and think, if I’m sweating, then I’m on the right track. Sometimes when I record these podcast episodes, I’m like, okay, oh my gosh, I’m sweating. If it’s something that makes you literally want to throw up, that means that you’re doing the right thing. That it’s scary, but a good kind of scary.

Start Earning an Income From Your Passion

The last step in the framework that I want to share is start earning an income from whatever it is that you’re doing. 

Figure out what your offers and what your packages are going to be, or if you’re going to offer something hourly. Whatever it is that you are going to do, start earning money from that.

Like I said, people will literally pay for anything and everything. So if they find that you have a value to give to them, they are going to invest into that. 

And once you start earning that income, once you start earning that money, it could potentially start off as being side income, side money. Figure out what you’re going to do with that. 

Go back up to step number three when you said you were going to reverse engineer your goals and figure out what that would be. If I’m now bringing in an extra, let’s say $300 a month, if I can send that $300 extra to my car payment and get my car paid off twice as fast, that’s going to help us.

Because once that car is paid off, I’m now going to have, well, let’s see, I just made the 300 extra dollars and let’s say my car payment is an extra $300. Bam. I just got $600 back in my pocket month after month. 

I don’t know how much money you need to make in order to walk away from the classroom or in order to walk away from your current career. Or, heck, again, if you’re a stay at home mom and you just want to make extra money, if you just started earning that $300 a month, that right there could cover a lot for your family.

Then if you get your car paid off, you now have an extra $600 in your pocket month after month. That can be so impactful for your family. 

And once you go back to step three and you start seeing what things that you can pay off, or how impactful the extra money that you’re making from currently the side gig, which can potentially turn into a full-time gig, you can then backtrack and see what you need to bring home. 

If I need to bring home $2,000 a month in order to provide for my family…well, I’m already making $300. If I got my car paid off, I’d then be making $600.

So I only need to make another $1400. And that’s a whole episode for a whole other day, because I can get really in depth and in detail about reverse engineering your income, reverse engineering your goals, and figuring out, well, if I paid off my car payment or if I paid off that credit card payment, I would now have X amount of money back in my pocket. So I’ll save that for another day. 

But I hope that you get the gist of what I’m trying to say there. 

And the last thing that I want to say about this last point is make sure that you are saving enough money for taxes and expenses and insurance.

Assuming whatever idea that you are bringing to life is now a business, you are going to need to be thinking of those things. 

So think like a business owner. What things do I use monthly for my business? 

For me, it’s my phone, it is my internet, it is the miles on my car. All of those things are business expenses and can all be written off. Meaning it will cancel out some of the income that you’re earning.

Again, that is a podcast episode for another day. 

But just know if you start earning money from this business, make sure that you set aside enough for taxes, expenses. And whatever is left, pay yourself. 

Figure it out how you’re going to leave the classroom, leave your current career, or start hitting that income goal for your family. 

In Closing

I just want to close out by saying it’s not that the path that I did was wrong, I basically did all of these things.

I did them in my own unique way, and maybe a little out of order as what I am telling you today. But I just used my experiences and I refined that path for you. So that I did it all for you. 

I went through the experience myself and figured out what worked and what didn’t work. What I could have done better to get where I am quicker. 

Now you’re on your own path and you’re on your own timeline as well. So if you do follow this framework and these steps, it may not look exactly like it did for me. But at least that you can use the foundation that I have built. The foundation that I have created and hopefully it gets you a step closer than it did for me.

My goal here is to help as many people as I can. I’ve taken my past experience, and I have compiled them into this framework that I’m talking about today. 

My goal and my hope is that it can help you walk away from the classroom. Leave your career, or be a stay at home mom that finally has something that’s solely for yourself. 

I share all of this because this is the framework that I followed to leave the classroom. I was able to pay off $53,000 worth of debt in twelve months. It’s finding my true passion and truly doing what I love that took me a little bit longer.

And maybe that’s what happens for you too. You get clear on your vision and get clear on your passion and you start with one idea and you think that that is what you’re going to do long term. 

As time goes on, it shifts and evolves as you grow and as your life changes, that’s okay. 

My goal here is to help you find that true passion just a tad bit sooner than I did.That way you can be on your way just a tad bit faster than I was.

At the end of the day, everything that’s worth having takes hard work. If you’re willing to work hard for something that you truly want, then I promise, yes, I promise, you can see results. 

That’s all that I have for you today. Make sure that you snag my framework here.

I may have a workshop coming very, very soon that I am really excited to share more with you about. Thank you for being here and I’ll see you next time.

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More About The Debt-Free CEO Podcast

Are you tired of getting yourself further into debt month after month? Does your mindset around money play a factor in your family’s spending? Do you struggle with knowing which debt to pay off first and how to keep yourself from going further into debt? Maybe you’re a freelancer who struggles with how much to pay yourself each month making it difficult to create a working budget.

In this podcast, you will learn ways to manage your finances to set you on the path to debt-free and on to financial freedom. 

I’m Megan Mendez, and I was a tired teacher needing to get out of debt to leave the classroom for good. In 2021, paid off $53,000 worth of debt in 12 months and started my freelancing business shortly after. I’ve been able to successfully pay myself as a  business owner and continue on the path to financial freedom and now I want to help YOU do the same! 

My hope is that this podcast gives you tactical tips to help you improve your finances and set you and your family’s future up for success. I hope you’ll join me as we journey to financial freedom together. 

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