A couple of years ago I had a friend who wanted to go into business for himself. He wanted to have his own website design firm. One day we were talking about it and he said, "I plan on working at my current job for five years and saving money so I'll have about $50,000 to launch."
Yowwwwww!!!!!!!! Do you hear the bad logic screaming?
"Why not borrow money and start now?" I had to ask.
"No way. I was raised to stay out of debt. My father launched his own business without going into debt," he said.
"Really!? I'm having a hard time believing that your father didn't go into debt. Nobody launches a new business without acquiring debt, or so I thought," said I.
I encouraged him to ask his father if he really launched his business without going into debt. A week later my friend called me and said, "You know what? My father did go into a lot of debt while launching his business. For the first eight years he was in debt. I had no idea."
My friend was surprised. I was not. I've had my own personal experience with debt. I had to go into A LOT of debt in order to launch my career as a professional speaker.
I don't have any rich uncles, or trust funds.
I had to charge a lot of business expenses to my credit card.
I had to get another credit card, because I maxed out the first one.
And once, even my credit cards weren't enough to carry me through the money-dry summer months when no one's hiring speakers, so I had to accept a loan from my brother and his wife. It was very hard to accept a loan - no matter how small - because I fancy myself as fiercely self-reliant.
When my brother, who hardly had the money to offer, made the kind gesture of a small loan, I replied, "Thanks, but no. I'd feel bad taking your money. I'll get a summer job." My brother replied with something I've never forgotten (And yes, I am fortunate to have a brother who really speaks like this):
"True entrepreneurs are willing to do whatever it takes to stay in business. If they can't afford their office cleaning bill , they'll stay late and clean it themselves. If selling their mountain bike will keep them operating for another week, they have a yard sale. If they need money and someone's willing to loan it, they take the loan. They'll do whatever it takes to stay in business because they know that keeping the shop doors open is the only way to make it all come true."
I took the loan, stayed in business, and pushed my career to a new level that summer. I paid my brother and his wife back when money started rolling in.
My point is this: When you want to make your ambitions come true, do whatever it takes to get, and stay, in the game. That includes going into debt, asking friends and relatives for a loan, and selling stuff for necessary cash. There is no such thing as a debt-free, low risk, low burden way for you to play in the same game the big dogs are in. The big dogs are the big dogs precisely because they were willing to take risks.
Crawl out on a limb. Don't hug the base of the tree for support; you'll probably get peed on. Climb out on a limb. Limbs were made for supporting great people.
Until next week, be great.
Work to have a perfect credit rating so that you can borrow money from banks or credit cards when you really need it.
"All glory comes from daring to begin."
A budget is just a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as afterward.
"People who take risks are the people you'll lose against."
John Sculley, Former Chairman, Apple Computer
"Rest not! Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time."
"Once you've done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line. "