Over the years I have coached and spoken to many entrepreneurs surrounding money, debt, and business finance. I remember just over a decade ago, I was massively in debt to the tune of $172,000. I always share the story of climbing out, and the challenge of conquering debt and kicking it in the face.
The reality for many entrepreneurs I speak with is, they are not climbing, conquering or kicking anything in the face. They tell me they feel like they are drowning. They work all day to produce income only to see it get washed away by a current of debt. They swim up towards the light and the surface, only to have another wave come crashing over them to knock them back down, many times below where they began. Not only are they drowning, they are not coming towards to surface to catch any air. Can you relate? Do you feel this way in your life or business surrounding your finances and debt.
As I have coached very successful entrepreneurs, and spent time with self-made people, millionaires, billionaires, here are a few points they have shared about getting to the surface.
- Do you even care to not drown? Many people are drowning in debt and that has become a lifestyle and mindset. Are you okay living this way? If so, the rest of this blog really does not matter. If you are fed up, pissed off, and done being in debt and drowning, keep reading.
- Forget becoming a millionaire for a minute. For now, have a plan to get to the surface. Create a baseline savings, and then pay off all debts except your house. Dave Ramsey would call these ‘Baby Steps 1 and 2’. When you have no savings and all your income is eaten my monthly commitments to unnecessary debt, that is where drowning occurs. When all you want to do is breathe, all that must happen is popping your head above water to grab some air. What is your plan to get to the surface? How long will it take?
- Remember, the swim is one stroke, one penny, one dollar and one small win at a time. If you are 500 feet under water, or $50,000 in debt, you kill that debt $1 at a time. Are you putting one foot in front of the other every day as you attack debt?
- Money is simple. It flows one of two ways. It flows to you, or away from you. If you have more leaving then coming, you lose. More coming than going, you win. Changing your financial snapshot requires creating new habits, wirings, and mindsets surrounding money and how it flows in and out of your life? How does money currently flow in or out of your life?
- As you look forward, look back a little. I encourage you to look back every 6 months to a year to see how far you have come towards the surface. Many times, as you are still drowning, it is easy to forget that you are now only 25 yards away from the surface, not 500. Looking back is important, not to remember the past and the pain, but to see the advancement. When is the last time you have looked back to see how far you have come?
- Label and categorize your financial out-go. Determine if your payments are absolute needs, or only personal wants. Which of these out-gos currently fuel your debt? Is it truly a need?
I hope this inspires and ignites you to own your financial situation with excellence.
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One of the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur is they consistently make profit. Along with making a profit, they consistently keep and reinvest their profits to win financially. Last week, I wrote about how to be more profitable as an entrepreneur and discussed three key things relating to being more profitable.
One thing I failed to cover was this; profit is not just about money. Most entrepreneurs say and hear the world profit, and immediately think money. Money in (sales and revenue) minus money out (costs and expenses), equals your profit. This is typically measured in currency.
Profit is so much more than just currency. In life, leadership, business, and humans working together under a common goal and vision, things are exchanged all the time. Money is one, so are emotions, action, and energy. In any exchange, a tank, bucket, account, or domain of life is filled (sales and revenue) and is also expended (costs and expenses). What is left is the profit.
How profitable are you? How much is left? How much is left financially? How much is left emotionally? How much is left spiritually? How much is left of your accounts, buckets and domains of life?
How much are you holding onto, reinvesting and growing in these domains to consistently win in life and business?
My good friend Mike Michalowicz would smack me around for asking why your profit and our profit is a leftover. Click here to watch him on the Ted stage sharing why your profit formula is broken and how to fix it.
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What does it take to win in entrepreneurship? What are the common traits a successful and impactful entrepreneur possess? Over the years of meeting, learning about and spending time with some of the world’s most amazing entrepreneurs, here is what I have determined rings true for all of them.
- Passion. If you were paid a billion dollars tomorrow, what would you wake up and do anyway? Entrepreneurs that both know this and build a business around this are the ones that win.
- People. You can not do it alone. Entrepreneurs that understand people, lead people and ultimately inspire the people that serve them are the ones that win. How well do you understand people and what makes them tick at the core?
- Persistence. Most entrepreneurs that are the “over night sensation and success” took years and even decades to get there. They failed and then reinvented, fell and then stood back up, believed when nobody else did. No matter what, they put one foot in front of the other day after day until they won. Are you doing the same?
- Process. A system and procedure for business is a must. Large and impactful companies are only grown and scaled when there is a detailed process, system and protocol that can be replicated and followed. Many entrepreneurs are not wired to follow process, yet they have people in place to make this happen. What process do you have in your business?
- Practice. A black belt is not earned overnight. An entrepreneur that comes across so smooth, so confident, so poised, and with such excellence in their trade, craft or skill set has spent thousands to tens of thousands of hours perfecting it. What are you pouring thousands of hours into?
- Profit. Profit and cash are the lifeblood of any organization. Without it, that organization will not continue. One way profit is measured is in dollars, which is the measurement of how well you served. There are also immeasurable components of profit, like culture. How profitable are you? How do you measure the immeasurable things like culture?
- Purpose. I have met, as well as have been the entrepreneur who accomplished the above 6 P’s yet felt empty inside. Without purpose, what is the point of winning? When I accomplished the first 6 P’s I was successful. When I found my purpose, I then became impactful. What is your purpose? Why do you exist in one statement?
I exist to inspire and ignite others to own and live their real story with excellence.
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Las Vegas hold lots of lessons entrepreneurs can apply to their business and life. The lights, energy, emotion, experience and life on the strip is a must see for many reasons. I always view and observe things through an entrepreneurial lens. Here are a three quick insights, experiences and lessons I have taken away from my time here in Las Vegas
Business will thrive when it’s leaders understands an important money equation. Money is exchanged. It leaves one source and passes to another. Income is created when money flows to you and your company from another source. To the degree you have more flow in that out, you win with the measure of profit. What side of the equation are you on? Do you consistently have more coming to you than going from you? In Vegas, the house always wins. Is this the case for you and your company?
People make decisions when they are influenced emotionally. The strip is filled with very intentional items that connect with a person emotionally. This influences them to be on the money leaving side of the equation, while at the same time feeling great about it. What does your business do to connect with and influence people at the emotional level? How does it inspire them to place themselves on the money leaving side of the equation? When, where and how do you place your company and brand to be on the receiving side.
People will pay what you charge when their is no other option. The Las Vegas strip is like nothing else on the planet. People flock there from all over the world to experience it. As they are influenced emotionally and are placed on the money leaving side of the money equation, the amount of money leaving is ridiculously high due to the fact that there is nothing else like it anywhere. What unique value does your company bring that leaves people clearly determining that there is nothing else like you?
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Every entrepreneur desires to win, grow, learn and be profitable. In my years of being a small business coach and keynote speaker for entrepreneurs, I have met and connected with some amazing people. In conversations with these people, I always search for the common themes attributed to their success and consistent patterns of winning. Just a few days ago, a great friend of mine hit the nail right on the head during a phone conversation we had.
My friends name is Dave Sanderson. Dave is an international keynote speaker and entrepreneur. Dave was a passenger on the Miracle on the Hudson flight that occurred back in 2009. I met Dave in 2013, when we both were speaking at an Entrepreneur’s Organization event in Atlantic City. Dave has presented his message close to 600 times since 2009, and is a seasoned, inspiring and phenomenal keynote speaker and entrepreneur. What I admire about Dave is his dedication to his craft, as well as his willingness to pour into others pursuing the same craft and profession of public speaking.
During our phone call, I asked him how he has been so successful as an entrepreneur and keynote speaker, and what he does to prepare to consistently deliver phenomenal level 10 keynote presentations. His answer was this:
“Treat every presentation and speech as if it were the Super Bowl. Get yourself into a state where failure is not an option. Make every presentation shine like it was the last one you will ever give. Leave it all on the stage.”
To win in business, to win in life and to win as an entrepreneur, every interaction, every deal, every relationship you pour into must be treated like the Super Bowl. Set outcomes, not goals. Super Bowls are not won because a team has a goal to win, rather they set a desired outcome and make it happen. Play like it is the last game you will ever play! To what degree are you playing and doing life, leadership and entreprenurship?
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One crucial outcome for every entrepreneur is to make a profit. Every time I coach an entrepreneur running a small business, profit is one of the first topics we review and discuss. When discussed, they always ask how to be more profitable. A business that does not make a consistent profit fails. I remember just over a decade ago, I was $172,ooo in personal debt when I founded M & E Painting with the last $100 I had to spend. Over 11 years, our company has become (and still is) one of the fastest growing, best places to work, and most profitable within our industry. My personal financial snapshot has changed dramatically; one of the key reasons is my desire and intense focus to be profitable.
I have spoken to, coached and mentored entrepreneurs from all different industries. The ones who really win in business and life have a consistent theme running surrounding profit. Below are some of the themes, habits and observations surrounding small business and entrepreneurial profit success stories. My hope is that you can use them to be more profitable in your company and life.
- The way you manage one dollar is the same way you will manage a million dollars. Entrepreneurs that consistently win with money completely understand the concept of a dollar and manage it at the one dollar level. A hundred thousand, million or billion dollars is no different than one dollar, it just has more zeros. Entrepreneurs that win with money make sure they spend less than they make, while being clear on what their keep vs. spend percentages are at the $1 level. The day I realized this, and received clarity surrounding where my pennies were going, was when I could be clear on and control where my hundreds, thousands and hundred of thousands were going. How do you manage your dollar? Where are your pennies going?
- Entrepreneurs pay themselves first. I remember hearing about the pay yourself first formula years ago. However, every year I always ran the same broken record and formula: Revenue minus Costs and Expenses equals Profit. I was taking the leftovers. When I read the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, it changed the way I viewed profit. Mike flips the script of the old broken, generally accepted accounting principal of paying yourself last and eating the scraps that fall from the entrepreneurial table. He encouraged me to pay myself, profit first and let my expense category eat the leftovers. Now I am full! Do you pay yourself first? How full are you?
- Entrepreneurs that make tons of profit have had a significant experience with money showing them how unimportant it really is. Profitable entrepreneurs have a story surrounding being impacted so deeply in regards to money that it changed their approach towards it, resulting in making tons more of it. When their balance sheet changed in the blink of an eye, due to economy or bad money decision, they found where the real capital resided; they began to count and measure their self worth in things other than their net worth. They realized that human capital, relational capital and their legacy is more valuable than all the money in the world. How important is money to you in relation to your legacy?
I have also experienced this revelation. I remember hitting the financial goal I had of becoming a millionaire before age 30. When this happened, I realized how unimportant the millions actually were. That freedom and peace has allowed me to focus on the things that truly matter in my life and business, which is inspiring and igniting other entrepreneurs to own and run their organizations with excellence. When I lean into my purpose, the money just happens.
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