Over the past 10 years, my business partner and I have seen our personal finance website grow from a small Australian credit card blog to a $50 million 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. Here are my top 10.
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 it and adapt as your situation changes. Too many people 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?
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 keep cash flow moving. 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.
If every entrepreneur accepted the first “no” they received, there’d be much fewer businesses existing 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’ll be surprised 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 (for example, if buying in bulk or paying in cash).
In today’s digital world, we have the ability to work with quality professionals all across the globe, enabling businesses to recruit top talent on a needs basis. By integrating outsourcing, you’ll likely be paying a cheaper price for high-quality work and avoiding funds wasted on 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.
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It sounds simple, but a golden rule of mine is to always spend less than you earn. In America, for too long we’ve taken credit as a given. 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 for years and subleased rooms in our apartment to substitute for income. Where you can, keep spending to a minimum. Think outside the box to stretch your dollar further, like using a co-working space to share services and equipment or utilizing assets you already have, like older computers and tech.
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. By concentrating on revenue, as opposed to expenditure, you’ll have a much greater chance of growing as a business. You never know when you might take a hit, so it’s better to hold off the extravagant purchases for the financial security of your business.
When it comes to the welfare of your team, my attitude toward money shifts a little. Your team is your family, the people who will accompany you to the top. By investing in them, you’ll likely boost workplace productivity and create a culture based on respect. At finder, we have a robust training and development program, encourage team members to pursue passion projects, and allow flexibility. This not only empowers individuals, it prevents burnout and inspires creativity—all positives for our business as well as for our people.
We learn by asking questions and seeking the 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 each and every day. This will be much more beneficial than sticking to what you know and staying in the same place.
10. Stay humble.
Although finder’s global expansion is well underway, Frank and I have never forgotten our beginnings, where we worked off that broken laptop, striving toward our early goals. We get taken back to our early days when starting 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.