Over the past 17 years, my business partner and I have seen our personal finance website grow from a small Australian credit card blog to a global business. Along the way, I’ve picked up a number of money habits that have been crucial in helping me realize my financial and business goals. And these money habits are ones I’m sharing as advice for other entrepreneurs.
Best money advice for entrepreneurs
Here are my top 10 habits:
1. Develop and track clear goals.
It’s absolutely key that you develop clear financial goals in both the long- and short-term. Consider what financial milestones you want to hit in six months, a year, 10 years from now, and write it all down. Create a clear (and realistic) plan to guide you, and regularly review and adapt it as your situation changes. Don’t put these things together and then file them away in a folder or drawer, never to look at them again. I set calendar notes for check-ins, and when I’m reviewing my plan, I ask myself: “What have I achieved since last check-in? Are these goals still realistic for the period in which they were set? What tools do I need that I don’t already have to make these happen?”
2. Consider your loan options.
When starting out, it can be difficult to make your business ideas come to life. A business loan can assist with early financial strain and help your business expand down the line. However, it is important to pay attention to how much you borrow, as you don’t want this turning into additional pressure later on. Compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best deal out there for your business.
3. Remember that a first offer is just a starting point.
If every entrepreneur accepted the first “no” they received, there’d be far fewer businesses in existence today. Whether I’m trying to turn a “no” into a “yes” or negotiate a better price, I always try to walk away with the best deal possible. This goes for business dealings and when making a personal purchase. I truly believe the art of negotiation is something everyone can learn, and once mastered, you may be surprised by how much people are willing to stray from their first offer. Straight up ask if that is the best possible deal, or even go so far as to suggest potential discount terms (if buying in bulk or paying in cash, for example).
4. Integrate outsourcing.
In today’s digital world, we have the ability to work with quality professionals from all across the globe, enabling businesses to recruit top talent on an as-needed basis. By integrating outsourcing, you’ll likely be paying a cheaper price for quality work instead of hiring potentially underutilized full-time staff. You might need to deal with international money transfers if outsourcing, but by comparing providers, you can ensure that the overall costs of these services still work in your favor.
5. Monitor your expenses.
It sounds simple, but a golden rule of mine is to always spend less than I earn—and it’s the best money advice for entrepreneurs. Keep tabs on your income, regular expenses and additional expenses, and don’t forget to accommodate room for savings. This will not only give you greater insight into where your money is going and a heightened sense of control, but it’s also a great way to help you reach your financial milestones.
When Frank and I first started finder, we worked off an old laptop that had missing keys, didn’t pay ourselves regularly for years and subleased rooms in our rental to substitute for income. Where you can, keep spending to a minimum. Think outside the box to stretch your dollar further, including visiting a coworking space in order to take advantage of shared equipment or utilizing assets you already have, such as older computers and tech.
7. Grow, don’t spend.
Don’t spend your money before you’ve earned it and don’t bet on success. It may sound cliché, but it’s important to expect (and plan for) the unexpected. Consider whether concentrating on increasing revenue, as opposed to reducing expenditure, is right for the future of your business. You never know when you might take a hit, so it may be better to hold off on extravagant purchases for the sake of your financial security.
8. Invest in your team.
When it comes to the welfare of your team, my attitude toward money shifts a little. Your team are the people who will accompany you to the top. At finder, we have a robust training and development program, encourage team members to pursue passion projects and allow flexibility. This not only increases productivity, it decreases work exhaustion—positives for our business as well as for our people.
9. Never stop asking questions.
We learn by asking questions and seeking advice from people more knowledgeable than ourselves. This could be a financial adviser, a business planner or even a well-versed friend. The point is, listen actively and utilize the resources that surround you. Getting advice from others about money and business will be much more beneficial for entrepreneurs than sticking to what you know and staying in the same place.
10. Stay humble.
Although finder has gone from a small business to a global presence, Frank and I have never forgotten our beginnings, working off that broken laptop and striving toward our early goals. We get taken back to our early days whenever we start up in a new place, as it’s a whole new market. My point is, regardless of how much money you make, remember where you started, don’t get carried away and never lose the drive and passion that inspired you to take this journey in the first place.
This article was updated April 2023. Photo by Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock