How to Start a Business Debt-Free

Have finances been the thing to hold you back from going after your dream of starting a business? Well, I’m proof that you CAN start a business debt free!

When I started dreaming about creating Greatest Worth back in November of 2016 there was one constant running through my head: how can I start this business without taking on debt?

Debt freedom has been a key value of our household since we paid off all of our debts back in 2012.The opportunities and choices that it affords us, starting a business being one of them, compels us to choose debt freedom over “stuff” every day!

(SIDE NOTE: We’re beginning a No Spend month in February to find even more intention in our spending. Won’t you join us?!)

Starting a business is hard. Period. The thought of adding debt on top of the inherent challenges of entrepreneurship made me SURE I wanted to avoid the mythical siren song of credit at all costs.

So, throughout Greatest Worth’s lifespan, I have never had debt.

This might seem impossible to some of you. Or too hard. Or too…fill in the blank. Well, I’m living proof that you CAN start a business debt free! And, I’m going to show you that it’s actually not all that hard!

6 KEYS TO START A BUSINESS DEBT FREE.

TAKE YOUR TIME.

One thing about starting a business debt free is that this path usually takes longer. When you start, it’s an easy trap to want and do everything NOW! To buy every course “guaranteed” to make your business bigger and more profitable. And get every software available to automate and streamline processes. We want ALL the things, and there’s an urgency to have them immediately. Scarcity and comparison, afterall, show up in all the parts of our lives.

But, building a business takes time. Building a business debt free takes even more time. And, this is something that is best accepted up front. I have to say this is something I’ve struggled with. I am NOT good at waiting. If I can make something happen quicker, I’ll choose that option!

But, that’s just not how it goes when you’re building a sustainable, profitable business. Excellence take time, thoughtfulness, longsuffering even. So, prepare yourself for the long game. Notice the frustration that rises when you feel you’re not moving fast “enough,” and then let those lies go. You’re making something beautiful, “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

CREATE A BUDGET.

You knew I was going to suggest this, right?! A budget is just a plan for where you’re going to put your money. It’s a way to make yourself aware of all of your monthly business expenses as well as any expenses you’d like to make, but will need to save up for! (Like Elite Blog Academy!)

Having the budget will let you see what you have and what you need. This way, you can reallocate funds from your personal account (who needs new clothes anyway!) into your business account without racking up a giant credit card debt.

And, unless you’re really good at managing and paying off your credit card every month, stay away from credit cards all together. Just set up a business checking account – mine is free through my local bank – and pay your bills with that.

While you’re still building your business, your income will likely be less than your expenses. You will need to figure out ways to take money out of your personal budget and use it to invest in your business. That leads me to #3:

DECREASE SPENDING IN YOUR PERSONAL BUDGET.

To ultimately increase capital investments that you can make into your beautiful business.

I’m assuming you don’t have any profits coming in from your business yet. If that’s true, you’ll need to find some personal money that you can use as a capital investment in your business.

This can get a little tricky. And a little personal.

There’s likely space in your personal budget to slash a few things, but it will probably be something you DO NOT actually want to give up. Something like an upcoming vacation. Or, your gym membership. Or buying coffee out.

Giving these things up for the short term is a tangible way of saying that your dreams are worth it. Your vision and work are a benefit to the world, and these small sacrifices will set you up for success no matter the path your business takes. The sacrifices you make now will allow you the freedom to pivot and go wherever the business leads you.

It’s truly a beautiful symbiosis. But, it’s still sacrifice and you need to decide what you want more.

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB.

When I started Greatest Worth, I was still working a full time job AND raising my 4 small children. I used every ounce of free time I had – my lunch hour, my early mornings and my evenings – to get in some writing and planning and foundation building (I used Elite Blog Academy as my guide through this foundational process. It’s worth every single penny and I know I would have had WAY more overwhelm and frustration during my start up process without it).

Six months into the business, because my husband was bringing in enough money for our personal budget, I was able to cut down to part-time work. It was just a month ago that I quit all together. Greatest Worth is not yet profitable, but I believe in it, and we are making large sacrifices as a family to continue to invest in GW this year.

We have cancelled our favorite family vacation for this summer. We’re doing a no-spend month in February to try and get more awareness and intention in our budget for the remainder of the year. We are investing all of our spare money into the business and not into savings.

The moral of the story is, don’t quit your day job until you’re ready. Make sure you’re living on a strict budget and have a good handle on where all your money is going. This is the only way to funnel money from your personal budget to your business account without fear. Instead of quitting, use all of your spare time to hone your message and develop the plan for your business.

STAY FOCUSED.

According to INC.com, it takes 23 minutes on average for a person to recover and re-focus after a distraction.

With the limited time you likely have available to you when in the startup phase of your business, 23 minutes a few times a day quickly adds up to an hour that you’ve lost! You must stay focused if you want to move forward.

This is especially true if you want to move forward without debt. One way I see online business owners getting trapped in “shiny object syndrome” is with online courses that swear to make you bigger and better and faster.

These courses aren’t bad, actually they’ll likely help you get ahead in whichever area you’re trying to get ahead in. But, when you have a course you’re working on and then you see another course that someone in your Facebook group is talking about it’s tempting to think you MUST have that course, too. Then, another friend tells you about the amazing results with this other technique. GAH! Too many shiny objects!

THE ONE THING THAT SETS APART A SUCCESSFUL
ENTREPRENEUR FROM A FLOUNDERING ONE IS FOCUS.

Some of the most successful business owners I know are able to completely focus on one thing and not move on until that one thing is mastered. It’s beautiful to watch and something I strive for.

It’s also a great way to keep yourself from wasting money on courses or books or seminars that you’re not ready for yet. Stay focused friends.

FIND A TRIBE.

Building relationships and gaining accountability is a free way to have others ensure you’re staying true to your desires, and making real gains toward your business goals.

This can feel hard early on. You may find that your friends aren’t supporting your dreams – and the person you’re becoming – the way you were hoping. The thing is, those friends are not your tribe. And, that’s OK.

Don’t take it personally.

Know that there are people out there who are exactly where you are right now and want to connect with YOU exactly the way you are! I found my tribe actively participating in discussions as a part of Elite Blog Academy (are you noticing a trend here? I will shamelessly plug that life-changing program every day and to everyone).

It might take some time but you’ll find your people. This is the exact way I found Mary and Ingrid. I’m so thankful for them both. They help me stay focused. They totally understand what struggles I face because they have or are currently facing them as well!

OK.

I’m so excited that you’re looking to start your own business! I can’t wait to see what you create. I’d love to hear about it if you get a chance!

Always rooting for you and your dreams!

 
BusinessOlivia Zurawski