Tag Archives: Secure Entrepreneur

Start Up Strategy: Money then business

latte“I was thinking about something you said awhile ago, about how you save for your vacations.”

I was getting ready to do some writing at the local coffee shop and one of our friends was sitting with me, waiting for their latte. “Yeah, we have been doing it for a few years now, it makes a huge difference for us”

“We finally did it, well not exactly, we didn’t have it all saved up, but most of it. Going on a paid vacation is a LOT of fun, I never would have imagined it would make such a big difference.”

I smiled, and nodded, I love hearing about people trying out new money money management tactics, especially when they work. “No credit card bill takes a lot of the stress off for sure. We save for Christmas the same way.”

“I’m not sure we’re there yet, but maybe…”

* * *

Saving ahead of time for retirement and your children’s education is something most people understand (even if they are not doing it yet). Saving ahead of time for vacations, toys (the child and grown up kind), Christmas, cars, and houses is a little more foreign. Those are the types of things that are “above” the usual costs, and you just put them on a credit card, get a loan, or a mortgage, and pay it off over time.

Similarly, when you start a business you go in knowing that there will be start up costs, ongoing costs, and growth costs. Not to mention the cost of loss income if you decide to quit your job and start your business full time. Not a problem though, like vacations, Christmas, and cars start up costs are a “good debt” to take on as they help you start and build your business. Right?


entrepreneur-696962_1280If your risk threshold for debt allows for using loans or a credit card to start your business, then yes, taking on debt to start your business works, but, it doesn’t have to be that way. What if you had cash savings to start your business with? What if you had ongoing income while you get started and grow?

What if you had the start up money first, then built the business?

5 Ways to start with the money, then build your business

1. Work and save: Continue at your current job, but cut back your living expenses to the bare minimum. This has two advantages, one you can save the extra to fund the start up of your business, and two you learn to live on less, and while starting your business you may have less to live on. Figure out how much money you need to comfortably start your business with minimal risk and keep your job until you hit that number, THEN start the business.

2. The “side hustle”: I first heard this expression from Pam Slim, but basically it means keep your full time job, and full time income, and start your business on the side. This way you can keep earning your income while discovering if your business idea will actually work in the market. You can also prepare for an eventual launch into full time business by cutting your expenses and saving for the time when you switch to your business full time.

3. The part time job: if you can’t maintain a full time job and start your business, but need cash flow, then grab a part time job to help smooth the transition. This could mean finding an unrelated job that helps pay the bills, but still gives you time to work on your business. Or, it could mean taking on less-than-ideal clients in your business so you can generate the cash flow needed to get your real idea off the ground.

4. Partner support: if your partner has a source of income you can initiate the conversation about using their income to support your life while you build your business. This could mean full support of all life expenses while you are in start up mode, or you may be required to provide income from your business as it gets started, or from a part time job.

5. Outside funding: venture capital isn’t usually an available source to most entrepreneurs starting small business, but there is no harm in trying if you have an idea that fits what the investors are looking for. This could also come in the form of government funding or grants if you qualify.

My Personal Experience

When I started my business I began with tactic one: the side hustle. I was teaching junior high and high school at the start of my business. My teaching job covered everything in our Life Budget, and I built the business for free, with any extra money we had, or by volunteering my time in exchange for services my business needed.

Once my business picked up I ended up using tactic five: outside funding. I was laid off from my teaching job for the summer which qualified me for a government program called “Community Futures”, which paid me my unemployment while I built my business. It wasn’t enough to cover all of our Life Budget, but it was enough that my business could supplement our income and grow at the same time.

Now, my wife has a full time teaching job, so I have partner support for my business. Between the two of us we can cover our Life Budget, and the business has enough money to continue to grow and make changes.

Throughout all of these stages I have also used debt, but I have always stayed safely below my “Business Debt Risk Threshold,” but that is a topic for another post…

Debt doesn’t have to be the only option

Yes, most, if not all, of these tactics will slow down the start up and growth phases of your business. However, if (like me) you have a low risk tolerance for building your business, then each of these tactics can take some of the pressure and stress off of your business building adventure.

Working a job while building your business, saving money to build your business, being patient and waiting for things to unfold without putting you or your family at risk are all great “Secure Entrepreneur” methods of building your business.

If you are interesting in reading, watching, and listening to more Secure Entrepreneur strategies, tactics, and tips you can sign up here.

Resisting the spending urge – use the Four Purchasing R’s

nobl wheelsI was sitting on a stool in my local bike shop, waiting for a work order for tune ups to my wife’s and son’s bikes, when the conversation started:

“What would you recommend for a new wheelset for mountain bike?”

The mechanic’s eyes lit up as he started to talk about the latest carbon wheel rim from Nobl, and the dependability and “bling” factor of Chris King hubs. Soon a second mechanic had joined the conversation and I had one of the carbon rims in my hands, and we were discussing only using top end spokes for a wheel build like this.

In moments, my innocent question had resulted in a super cool new wheelset worth $2500 Canadian.

Understand, I WANT these wheels. I love my bike. I love new gear for my bike. I especially love new carbon gear for my bike. This hand-built carbon wheelset would be perfect.

But I didn’t do it. I didn’t order the wheels. I walked away (for now, I have some money building up in my Choice Account).

Walking away

Walking away from purchases, both big and small, can be a difficult task, especially in today’s world of credit cards and making payments. Just five or six years ago I probably would have just made that purchase and worried about the consequences later because, well, because I really want to own those wheels.

I am guessing you probably have been in similar situations, both in Life and in your business, and sometimes you have made that purchase and then regretted it afterwards, promising yourself that you wouldn’t make the same mistake again (and then, later, made a similar purchase).

How can you (and me, and my wife, and my son) stop making purchases on the spot? Purchases that lead to guilt, stress, and panic?

Use the “Four Purchasing R’s”

This is how I avoid making these types of purchases now:

1. Refuse to buy something in the moment: Always go into a store, or on a shopping trip, or read a sales page with a clear decision of whether or not you plan to purchase. If you end up in a situation where an opportunity to buy something pops up, stick to window shopping, walk away, and take some time to make a proper decision on whether or not you need the item.

2. Remember, and use, your core value statement: When buying something, it should be supporting either your Life or Business Core Value Statement (depending on the situation). If it does not support your Core Value Statement then be honest with yourself: why do you feel you need it? Is this purchase going to resonate with you and your values in a few hours or days?

3. Review your current money goals: Sit down and review what your current money plan is. What do you need your money to be doing for you right now? Does this purchase support your current money goals? If not, why are you making the purchase?

4. Repeat the process at least once: After following the first three Purchasing R’s, if you feel like the purchase makes sense, and you can afford it, then…

Wait a few more days and start at the first “R” one more time.

What I have found is, when I use the “Four Purchasing R’s” one of three things will happen:

1. I will realize I don’t need whatever it is I am desiring to buy, and I forget about it.
2. I decide to delay my decision over and over again before finally deciding one way or the other (usually I decide not to buy)
3. I make the purchase and feel good about it because I have made an informed choice about spending the money.

The “Four Purchasing R’s” versus the Carbon Wheelset

If I run the opportunity to buy expensive wheels for my bike through these filters it looks like this:

1. Refuse: The wheels sounded cool, and I desired them, so I got up off the stool and left the store, wallet intact.

2. Remember: My Core Value Statement is “Provide the Security my Family needs to have amazing Adventures together”. Carbon wheels would assist with having amazing biking adventures with my family, but they are not necessary. In this case my Core Value Statement didn’t give me a clear “yes” or “no” answer.

3. Review: My family and business are currently both debt free except for our mortgage. However, we are within five years of paying off our mortgage, 3 years if we start putting extra money on it, which is one of our current money goals. $2500 would take a nice chunk out of that mortgage and towards our money goal.

4. Repeat: I haven’t ended at a solid “no” about the wheels yet, there may be ways, using my Choice Account, to accomplish getting the wheels and paying off our mortgage. For now I am in a cycle of repeating this process every time I walk by the bike store, or consider buying the wheels. Until I get a strong “yes” with all four R’s (and discuss with my wife and son) I won’t be buying the wheels.

If you decide to give the Four Purchasing R’s a try, I would love to hear how it works for you in the comments below.

How can I create a realistic budget? Part One – Unrealistic Budgets

Resistance to creating a budget and then following that budget is one of the biggest money blocks people experience, bringing up comments like:

  • If I follow a budget there is no way I can have any fun
  • Life changes too much, there is no point in creating a budget, it will just change
  • Budgets never work, I always end up going over
  • Budgets do nothing but cause my family to fight over money
  • Following a budget makes me feel like I can’t live the life I want
  • Making a budget brings up all of the money issues I have in my life and makes me panic

These sorts of comments usually mean that budgeting is not the problem, creating an unrealistic budget is the problem.

Watch the video below and see if the budget blocks mentioned have been holding you back from creating and successfully following a budget:

Want some help creating a realistic budget that you can successfully follow? Then you can do one of THREE things:

1. Check out the next video in this series, all about creating a Core Value Budget (coming soon)

2. Sign up for the Secure Entrepreneur Ezine to get more tips, tricks, and strategies for budgeting: http://jeremiemiller.com/the-secure-entrepreneur-ezine/

3. Sign up for the Secure Entrepreneur Money Management Beta Class (just $97) starting February 16th: http://jeremiemiller.com/sebetaclass/

How you can limit poor purchasing decisions in your business

You have made them. I have made them. Some may be a bit embarrassing. Some make you shake your head. A few you might have eventually found uses for.

Eliminating bad business purchases completely probably isn’t going to happen (you are human right?) but learning a few steps to help limit these moments of bad judgement will make a huge difference. Watch the video below to get 2 mindset and 3 practical tips for helping ensure you make better money choices in your business:

Need help laughing at, and then eliminating your bad business money decisions? Then sign up for the Secure Entrepreneur Ezine here:


Know a friend who could use some similar help with money choices in their business? Share this post and let’s all avoid our next purchase mistake together!