Financial Priorities – i.e. removing your head from where the sun don’t shine
Nobody likes dealing with a naff situation. Nobody likes dealing with a boring situation either. So imagine how few people like dealing with naff, boring situations?!
Welcome to the wonderful world of personal finance!
To be fair, everything else you do in business is entirely academic if you can’t figure out how to manage your finances though. How many people can we come up with that are brilliant at making money, but suck at keeping hold of it?
The lottery winner who goes broke. The celebrity that files for bankruptcy. It’s a recurring pattern.
And a really easy one to fix. Educate yourself.
Below are some really simple tips on what to do depending on where you currently are financially;
BROKEYou are broke and you’re contemplating getting a job if you’re self-employed, or getting people off behind the bins. Times, they are hard.
There is no shame in taking a step back from the entrepreneur world and getting a part time job to bring in some cash. It doesn’t make you a failure, just that you haven’t quite nailed your entrepre-vibe yet.
If you’re in this position you need to;
Get some cash in.
Despite everyone saying “charge what you’re worth” and “premium prices attract premium clients”. Well, sorry to break it to you, but if nobody is paying you money for your stuff yet, you ain’t premium and you ain’t worth a damn thing.
Drop your prices quicker than the trousers of an 18 year old in Magaluf. Offer something so incredibly valuable that people would be insane not to give you money for it.
If it’s a service, what else can you throw in and bundle up?
If it’s a product, how low can you go and still breakeven / make a tiny profit?
Next thing cut your costs.
Be brutal. Do you need to live where you do or can you move back in with your folks for a bit? Again no shame (ok a bit, but whatever, you’re fudged aren’t you?). Have a look at your last months expenses, if anything on there wasn’t an absolute necessity, then you’re being a tool and not taking this seriously – or doing the classic ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
If you’re massively in debt and there’s no way out, speak to professionals (free ones) about debt management plans or bankruptcy. Might be the best way out.
Do these two things until you end up…
Not exactly living your best life right now are you? But you can afford food and a roof over your head. It’s a struggle, but you’re making ends meet.
At this stage you want to do a little bit of the above, but slightly less aggressively.
You should speak to your customers to see what else you can offer them. Maybe you write email copy for people… could you write their social posts, or are you techie enough to handle the funnel sequence as well? Get your thinking cap on and come up with something.
If you’re a coach, do you have entry level products or higher end options for people? Something to keep old customers paying you, and something to get new customers through the door.
You may well be dealing with debts still, so make clearing these a priority. Get rid of credit card debts, don’t even think about touching payday lenders, and don’t buy anything new unless it will directly and quickly give you a return on investment.
“Investing in yourself” on courses and coaches and retreats… not for you. You can’t afford it.
This isn’t Ancient Greece and you aren’t a Philosopher, you aren’t paid for what you know, you get paid for what you do for people. So go do something.
You’re now at the stage you can afford stuff and things, and life ain’t all that bad. The risk here is you start to coast and don’t achieve all you possibly could.
At this stage it’s important to make sure you don’t ever go backwards, so from a safety net point of view… get one!
3 – 6 months’ worth of your monthly outgoings is a good goal. Takes some of the pressure off if things go wrong.
Personally I like to use Premium Bonds for this fund, it’s easy to get to relatively quickly, but not super easy, and it gives a low, but acceptable tax free return.
Alongside this you might want to think about insuring away the risk of everything disappearing cos you lose a leg or something. You need to talk to someone qualified to make sure you know your options and get the best protection. Always ask for a protection advisor that is “whole of market” so you’re getting presented all the options to choose from.
At this stage you’re able to take your time to figure out where you go next. Being comfortable is pretty good. Nowt wrong with staying there. Or you can go for the next step up.
Whatever option you go with, while it’s not as exciting for the ‘hero’s journey’ story, it’s sensible to put something in place so you don’t end up backstepping to Struggling or Broke.
You should at this stage have some surplus income every month, so start investing it in grown up things. Stock market, bonds, property, etc. These won’t do anything exciting like your own company, but they also shouldn’t disappear overnight like your own company might. It’s baby steps and you aren’t investing a metric ton of money, so don’t stress out about it, just get started.
This probably means you’re earning solid 5 figures a month and can (although might not be doing), saving multiple thousands each month.
You now need to be thinking of exit plans and long-term strategies. Is your business saleable at some point in the future? What do you need to do to make it more attractive to a buyer?
If not, i.e. if the business falls apart without you, then it’s even more important to start investing in alternative streams of income.
The goal is to get enough money each month to cover your costs without too much time or effort on your part. The stock market pays dividends, property gives you rental returns, bonds give yields, etc. These can all form part of your new-found investment strategy.
You got one of those right, an investment strategy I mean? Your goal is to buy assets that return an income.
But, don’t get distracted. A lot of people suddenly think they can do everything, decide they can be a property developer and sack off the business that was bringing them their income.
Those people are what we refer to in the financial services industry as – b*llends.
Focus on your best returning asset and milk it for all it’s worth. Use the surplus to buy other assets that are as hands off as possible, so when you decide to step back from “working”, you’ve got an income stream that’s capable of picking up the slack.
You should be at the stage where you need to pay to have someone advise and do some of this stuff for you. Make sure they know what they are doing and have done it themselves.
This is the goal right? A surprising amount of people online get to this level. Now, I should probably preface this as it’s baller with a small b. We’re talking about the £250k – £1m a year profit crowd. If you’re worth over £50m you should probably have people who look after this stuff for you. If not, you need to get me on retainer quick cos you’re hemorrhaging money!
But the same principles still hold true. You want to be focused on building a legacy at this stage. You’ll break up your investment goals into;
- sorting yourself out
- sorting your nearest and dearest out
- sorting out something you care about
If you get to baller AF and then ever end up below ‘BORDERLINE’ again…. You’ve had some poor advice along the way and made some terrible life choices. You need to find Jesus or something.
As with all the fun things in life, at this stage you can afford to throw money at problems and pay to play. So get yourself some people that act as your investment managers. They should be able to talk you through your goals and put in place investment strategies that will achieve them in as tax efficient a way as possible.
If they are broke, leave them to play in the kiddy pool until they actually know some stuff in the real world rather than what they read in a magazine.
You’re clearly winning at whatever business game you’re currently playing, so stick to your area of expertise and funnel money into passive investments so you can walk away whenever you choose, without needing to worry about money again.
So there you have it. Some pearls of wisdom that should / could / might help someone go from completely screwed financially, to safe and secure for generations to come.
- Make money come in.
- Stop all the money going out.
- Put some of the money coming in into an emergency / contingency fund.
- Then put money coming in into cash-flowing investments.
- Use cash-flowing investments to fund more cash-flowing investments.
- Quit everything, live off your cash-flowing investments.
Might take a while, but it doesn’t get much more complicated than that.
If you need help with any of those, I’ve got you covered.
If you’re 2) Borderline – then it’s time to sign up to the Make Money Your B*tch course and start controlling your finances
Whatever stage you’re at, there are people out there that can help you. I’m just one of them. What’s important is you take some action and not just think about doing something and never actually get round to doing it.
Off you go.
ALL THE HUGS AND THE CUDDLES!!!