A Good 4 Letter Word: CASH

This 4 letter word is actually a good word – especially for the anywhere worker who wants to keep financial stress managed


Often people interested in becoming an indie worker or starting a small business ask me how they can afford it. They ask about funding and business plans and how to convince the bank to approve a loan. They become stressed and financially overwhelmed even before they start planning.

I respond with one word: CASH.

I’ve learned a few lessons in my years of independence that I would like to share with you:

Lesson 1: Cash. I don’t believe in debt in neither my life of business nor my business of life. I have learned the hard way that the simple existence of debt can impact decision making and increase stress. Starting and running your own business will be stressful enough without the added stress of debt. Run your business on cash only.

A note here: The cash habit starts with your personal finances. If you have personal debt (other than a mortgage) then you will have trouble managing a business on cash only. Consider getting into the cash habit with your business of life first.

Lesson 2: Plan ahead. I believe in taking only calculated risks, or planned risks. That is why I recommended in The Hero’s Journey to start planning for your business before you quit your job. This will allow you to accumulate funds for start-up and for 12 – 18 months of business expenses before leaving your steady paycheck behind.

Lesson 3: Less is More. This applies to both life and business. With respect to business, this means keeping the expenses down as a way to stay out of debt. The equation is simple: income – expenses = revenue. This is one area where your creativity muscle will be exercised. Getting things down without going in debt is an artform.

Find The Creative Solution

Three women are starting a service business and have a goal of creating a business website.

  1. Lucy decides to learn how to do it herself. Hours required from Lucy: 60; Cash: 0; Debt: 0.
  2. Natalie decides to barter for the services with a web designer in her network. Hours required from Natalie: 30; Cash: 0; Debt: 0.
  3. Marie decides to hire a web designer. Hours required from Marie: 20;  Cash: 0; Debt: $2,000.

Which of these three business owners is being the most creative?

Challenge: Where in your business can you use a creative solution to avoid increasing your debt? If you can not think of a creative solution – and here’s the real challenge – consider postponing the expenditure until you have the cash. Crazy, I know, but you’ll feel more powerful when you take control.