Let’s talk money
I’m sitting here working away in my hotel room in Taiwan and enjoying a day off after a crazy few weeks. My travelling companion was that strung-out, debauched, no-holes-barred tale of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street. Yes I know I’m a bit late to catch on with this one but I have been busy and anyway, better late than never!
As usual when I’m travelling my mind opens up a few different doorways and my perspective changes. Reading a book such as this after a few months of intense pressure and seriously long working hours to find my bank balance not all bad but not exactly hitting the high notes that I feel my efforts deserve really made me think. And no, I didn’t think ‘man I’m soooooo in the wrong business here, those guys had a licence to print money’, I felt sad that there will always be people like that in the world making money out of other people’s ideas and weaknesses.
Money is the enabler of opportunity (rather than the root of all evil, money doesn’t have a personality unless you give it one). I started my business in a cash poor situation having left a corporate salary and job with no savings, no credit and two young children. My hands were tied (by me, I didn’t really think it through) and all of my great ideas were sitting pretty just waiting to pounce WHEN I HAD THE MONEY. I had to borrow from my father and that tied me over for a while as I explored a few options and got myself out there but really, when I look back I had no idea how I was going to make things work during those first two years. All I knew was that I had to.
With my money running out I resigned myself to upping the hours of my part-time job – a job that I enjoyed and knew was giving me some great skills for my own business venture only it wasn’t directly relevant (teaching science to children in a hands-on way, travelling to lots of different schools and teaching lots of different content). The vast majority of the money I earned went into keeping the mortgage paid, food in our belly’s and the car on the road. We were still relatively new immigrants to Australia then and we were mostly getting my on our own. I was glad that I had this blog to keep me company as I slowly came to the realisation that my dreams of being a consultant were still a long way off. I couldn’t really afford to do much speculating in order to get my name out. I could barely afford the ingredients to try out my recipe ideas.
To cut a long story short I ploughed on with the blog and slowly a few opportunities came up and with each one I grew a little more confident in my ability to ‘go it alone’ although I would have to say that it wasn’t until year three that I really started to hit my stride.
Being without money, being hungry and vulnerable made me have to think really hard about what I was trying to do and how I was going to make it work. I have to say I am intensely grateful for that as the whole experience sharpened me up and got me thinking like a business person and not just some kid who ‘will have a stab at anything because it’s all fun and at least I’m freeeeeeee!’
Sure $1 million cash injection into any business is going to open a few doors but if your head isn’t ready for it that you will always be its servant and that is one thing that screamed out to me in the book I’ve just read. Nobody was really in control, especially not the wolf.
I often meet people who come to me with great ideas but no money with which to implement them. Many ask if I know where they can get funding via an investor or better still a government hand out. While it is true that both of these options exist next to none of the people who come to me looking for financial help are ready for this. I too was that person, desperate for someone rich to just say ‘hey, here is some cash, go for your life because I believe in you, you are great’. I’m glad my wish didn’t come true, I would not have got to here if I’d got myself a free ride!
In my humble opinion the best, most fulfilling way to grow your first business to financial self-sufficiency is to work and to work harder and smarter every day. Taking on board the comments, feedback and help that will be offered, setting aide your ego and re-evaluating things when they don’t work out. Saying no to things that don’t fit and backing yourself and going for the things that do. These early stages of business development are absolutely key to building a sustainable and rewarding relationship with your business and let’s face it, if you can’t find a way to make money with your idea then your idea is not working. The internet, market stalls, friends and family, forums and chat rooms are all low cost avenue for people in our industry to try, all that is required is a bit of a plan and some self-belief.
Personally, I feel that my business is still too heavily dependent on myself and that leaves me vulnerable as being only human I get tired, travel, get busy and overwhelmed. However, over the last two years things have settled into a manageable pattern but I’ve still got a way to go before I feel completely ‘safe’ for want of a better word. Once I reach that ledge on the dizzy way up I will give myself time to stop and will invest in some help to take me further – to a place that I just can’t reach alone. That time will come but rather than me sit back and wait for the gravy train I’ll work my way to it, step by step and I’d encourage you to do the same.
The Wolf of Wall Street and real life have taught me that not everything is fair in business, that rules that are dutifully complied with for one are blatantly ignored r exploited by another. This is human nature. However, my business and life journey have also taught me that doing things with integrity, truth and unwavering passion gives us all the best chance of not only enjoying the journey but in growing from it and that is what keeps me inspired to be more.
Money is important but it can’t tell you you’re a hero and it damn well won’t be saying nice things about you at your funeral will it Jordan.
Only real people can do that.
and not everyone is real.