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How An Entrepreneur Makes Money When They Don’t Have Any

How An Entrepreneur Makes Money When They Don’t Have Any

I understand what it’s like, I’ve been there myself, you have all of these big ideas that you know would work, make millions, go viral and so on, but you simply don’t have the cash to push them through. It’s frustrating, finding investment is hard, and you feel as though you’re in a vicious circle that you’ll never get out of.

But there’s hope! To make money when you don’t have any, you have to do two things.

1. Scale Down

Number one is scaling down. When you don’t have enough money, you need to have a certain mindset that can take you from location A to location B.

This mindset is made up of acceptance and compromise. Accepting the fact that you can’t go out and spend thousands on advertising, then compromising to find a scaled down version of what you originally wanted to do.

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This is where most people struggle because they aren’t willing to put out what they would call a…bad product/service. But for anyone who’s read the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, you’ll know where I’m coming from. For those of you who haven’t, I recommend reading it.

The Lean Startup talks about your MVP – Minimum Viable Product. This is a version of the product or service that requires the least amount of time and money spent but still does the job in a minimalist way. What’s the point in spending thousands on a new idea if you haven’t tested it yet, or worse, spending thousands of hours and wasting time you can never get back?

This is why sometimes, the one with the least money comes out on top. Having too much cash can be a burden, it makes you reckless and somewhat lazy. You begin to believe that flooding money into your idea will automatically make it work, but it doesn’t quite work this way.

Example:

Some of the best companies in the world were started from the absolute bare minimums. Take James Dyson for example. James was an inventor, had some ups and downs, but was fairly stable. There came a time in his life when he didn’t have too much cash to play around with. He had a big idea, yet couldn’t implement it.

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Instead of giving up, James turned to the MVP system and created a hoover out of a cereal box. (I’d love to tell you how). He hoovered the entire house twice and realized that his cheap product worked. This was step one complete; he worked with what he had where he stood and came up with something that could take him to the next step.

The Takeaway

I see so many people complaining about not having enough money, yet they haven’t even tried the basics. A world class website straight out of the gate isn’t realistic, but don’t worry. Just having something in place, a platform to build from is the most important factor. You can improve as you go, learn as you go and enable the business to move in parallel with your growing profits.

This system works very much like video games. You can afford better things and be granted access to more exclusive items/opportunities the longer you play and the further you advance. You don’t put the disk in and complete the game in 5 minutes with everything available to you.

Progression is progression, no matter how slow you go or from where you start, all that matters is that you’re moving.

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2. Be Creative

The second component is being creative. Instead of following a single given path, you need to search for ethical shortcuts, tricks, and opportunities that no one else spotted.

You see, if everyone is after the same goal, reading the same material and learning from the same companies, there will come a time where nothing differentiates you from your competitors. Being different, thinking differently and running as far outside of the box as you can definitely work in your favor when you’re broke.

Example:

Richard Branson may be the king of this strategy. When he first started out in business, before all of the billions, he too had similar issues in the financial department as I guess many of the people reading this have today. He needed sponsors for his new magazine, but of course, no one wanted to be associated with a new brand that had a small readership, no history, or proven results.

So what did Richard do?

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He contacted the biggest company that would get on the phone with him and told them that they could feature in his magazine for free with a double page spread. No catches, just a free advert that would point customers in their direction with no risk or money to be paid. The large company obviously said yes because they had no reason not to, it was free adverting.

So how did this benefit Richard?

Richard then went to smaller companies and showed evidence of this large company featuring in his magazine. To them, it seemed as though the larger company had bought a double page spread. Without hesitation, they all began signing up to Richard’s magazine and paying him for a feature. They must have thought, “If such a big company is doing it, then they must know something we don’t.” He used a form of social business proofing!

This cost Richard nothing but made him the money he needed to reach the next stage of his entrepreneurial journey. A simple creative thought that, for all we know, could have been the catalyst towards his billion-dollar fortune.

The Takeaway

Sometimes it’s the smallest, most simple and most overlooked features that can make all the difference. Having money is great, of course, it opens up opportunities, but there’s something about working with a small budget that heightens your senses, makes you hyper-aware to opportunity and more selective in how you spend what you have.

If you’re broke but have a great idea, never forget that you have the start-up advantage, something that larger companies have been trying to get back since they grew.

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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