What would you rather do: borrow $100,000, or not borrow any money, and work your arse off, instead?
Before you answer I have to tell you what really gets me fuming: those self-styled business gurus who say to new business owners, “Pay yourself first!”
It’s advice that’s treated like gospel these days, and what you end up with are people who borrow money from the bank not just to start their business, but to actually live on! So you’re already in massive debt before you’ve even started your business, and if your business fails, you’re in a world of trouble.
And yet you still need to make some sort of an investment to get a business up and running. So what’s the solution?
You invest sweat equity into your business instead of money. Sweat equity keeps costs low, and safeguards you and your family should your business not be the raging success you dreamed it would be.
So what is sweat equity, anyway?
Sweat equity is what you put into the business that’s not financial: the planning, the energy, the skills and talents, the commitment and time, even your hopes and dreams. In other words, the work.
Your business will need to make money, and it will need to pay you, but in the initial stages it’s perfectly OK – and normal! – for you to sink a whole lot of sweat equity into it without drawing a single cent.
Yep, it’s work. So what? Work is great, particularly when it’s on something you absolutely believe in, like your business. And it’s one of those things that pays you back much more than you put in, because even when it doesn’t pay you money, it pays you in experience, increased skills, and a whole bunch of lessons you can only learn while doing.
See – no matter what anyone tells you, there’s no magic bullet to starting, running, and growing a business. No secret formula. It’s all a bunch of processes you do that add up to one thing: work.
If you’re going to start, run, and grow a business, you need to embrace sweat equity. Not just because your business needs it, but also because it’s worth every bit as much as financial equity, if not more.
Sweat equity increases the value of your business. All the time you spend planning, researching, making great contacts, promoting, and a thousand other things, is incredibly valuable. Just imagine what it would cost to hire people to do all that! And while you’re making that investment, the delayed gratification – which studies have proven is a key element of success – is making you stronger. Concentrate on making your first sale. That’s all you need to do. Then the next one. Then the one after that.
So get sweating, business mama! Next week, in my final post on starting a business without money, we’ll talk about dollars and cents, and exactly where to get your hands on some!
Check out Part 1 here.
Check out Part 2 here.
Check out Part 4 here.