There are literally millions of opportunities to make a living without a job, right? Ways that pay the bills and feed your soul. Opportunities to work when, where and how you want. Where you can put living first and working second.
Unfortunately, there are also tons of excuses for letting the opportunity to launch your dream business pass you by:
- Too young
- Too old
- Too exhausted
- Too fat
- Too confused
- No time
- No support
- No confidence
- No business idea
The least acceptable excuse of all can kill your dreams and may surprise you. It is one that most of us have said at one time:
I cannot afford it.
Now, before you insist that you really cannot afford it, please hear me out. Or rather, hear out the author of the best-seller, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not, Robert Kiyosaki. In this book, Kiyosaki contrasts two money mindsets:
The “poor dad” spends his life preoccupied by things like job security, Social Security, vacation, sick leaves, company insurance, salary raises and promotions.
In contrast, the “rich dad” approaches money from the mindset of opportunity rather than security.
Rather than focusing on paying the bills, the goal is to be financially self-sufficient.
Instead of thinking of how can I “make money,” the rich dad looks for ways to make the money he does have–regardless of the amount–work for him. It is an approach that was crystalized when a young Kiyosaki was complaining that he could hardly afford to buy anything on his meager salary. That is when Kiyosaki’s dad told him, “Never say, ‘I cannot afford it.’” He told his son not to dwell on how little money you have but to dwell on answering the question: "how can I make more money"?
When you ask yourself, “How can I make more money,” it stimulates the brain to take action. In contrast, when you say, “I can’t afford it,” your brain effectively stops working…killing initiative and promoting passivity. Telling yourself, “I can’t afford it” means you miss the opportunity to make more.
Does that mean that you should go into debt to take steps to have your dream business? It depends. Some people are brought up to think that any kind of debt was bad. But the “rich dad” helps us to see things differently.
Now we can see that the entire notion of debt and credit came from the farming community. The farmer needed credit to invest in seeds and equipment. When the crops were big and beautiful, he sold his harvest and paid back his debt. If he had a bad year, they had a forgiveness clause for a year. If he had two bad years, then the lender took a piece of farm equipment.
It’s the same with borrowing money to start a business.
Good debt is when you borrow money for something that supports you in having a plan to pay it back. Training for a new career, purchasing inventory to start a business, or hiring an assistant to free you up to focus on your real gifts are all examples of good debt. Whether you borrow from a bank, a credit card, or from family or friends, the purpose of the debt is to put you in a positive position in the future. You are planting seeds, and once they grow, you pay it back.
Bad debt is when you purchase things without a plan to pay it back and/or does not support your dream or you are using that thing to fill a void in your life. Splurging on new clothes when your closet is already packed with stuff you never wear. Buying a huge flat screen TV or a new car when the ones you have work perfectly well.
So instead of saying, “I can't afford this opportunity” ask yourself, “What can I do to make money to afford this opportunity?” Can you sell jewelry you never wear? Ramp up an eBay business? Unload an old car or computer equipment? And yes, when necessary, borrow from a credit card?
To be clear: I am not advocating spending beyond your means so that you drown in credit card debt. Nor am I suggesting you mortgage your house. But I am suggesting that certain kinds of debt are actually very positive to have in your life. Debt that funds your dream business can be a pragmatic strategy to start living life on purpose and building a business you love.
Life is short and it may not be necessary for you to see a particular opportunity pass you by.