25 Apr Drip Your Way To Success!
Life and Business are Uncertain
As the old saying goes, there are only 2 things in life that are certain, death and taxes! I agree with this old saying, death and taxes are not things that can be avoided. Additionally, I believe there is a third thing that we can add to the list of certainty in life…there is a steady and recurring flow of unexpected and unplanned expenses! Life and business are uncertain and there will be unplanned events, crises, illnesses, fees, and opportunities. Even the most prepared person will face uncertainty in their business and personal lives and will have to decide what to do with it and how to pay for it. When these things come up, whether the unexpected is something that you are totally excited about or something that you are dreading…healthy financial habits of the past can help us sail through and flourish during the unexpected.
I took a call from one of my clients a few months back who was being approached with one of those time-sensitive opportunities, have you ever experienced one of these??? Maybe it is the 7-day Hawaiian vacation package whose price is only good through the end of the week or it is an “extreme sale” on close-out inventory that must be liquidated before the end of today. Either way, the marketing tactic is to tie an unusually low price to a time-sensitive offer. I love these offers because I know my numbers, and this gives me the opportunity to make a time-sensitive decision about if I wish to take part in the special pricing or not. What I often see, however, is folks who don’t know their numbers well enough to determine if the time-sensitive offer will be a boon or disaster for their financial health.
Let’s use a semi-rhetorical example. My husband and I love Christmas, we love to spoil our kids every December 25th with gifts and extravagance that is not available to them the other 364 days of the year. There is a recurring pattern to Christmas in that it happens every December 25th and in knowing this, we have created a drip account to save for Christmas. Once a month, we put money into our Christmas savings account so that we are able to experience guilt-free giving on December 25th. It has served us well over years. This year, my hubby and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage, and it turns out we both still like each other so we would like to do something special to celebrate. Knowing that our anniversary is just around the corner, I have been looking for a killer vacation for the two of us to take. There are lots of last-minute travel offers available on the market today and I was thinking that if I chose to, I could transfer funds from the Christmas drip account to fund the last-minute vacation offer. However, that may mean that I don’t have enough for the big day on December 25th. I have a decision to make: to use the Christmas Drip Account to fund the 20-year vacation or, instead, continue to save that money for Christmas. In my family, 100% commission is the standard operating procedure, so we get pretty comfortable with uncertainty. My hubby, in sales, is paid on a 100% commission program. As a small business owner, I consider my income to be 100% commission based because at Reconciled Solutions, we operate on a Profit First concept of my earnings being tied to a percentage of how much cash was collected in revenue. Since I know what to expect from both his commission and mine, I can make a qualified and quick decision to choose to take advantage/not take advantage of the time-sensitive vacation offer. I am not going to tell you what I decided unless you outright ask me, but I must tell you, the sense of freedom that comes as a part of knowing my financial health and options at a glance is priceless! Knowing my numbers and what I can/cannot afford brings me great peace of mind.
My 20-year anniversary vacation plans are an example of leveraging uncertainty in a positive situation. There are many less-than-positive situations that occur in life too, in which we are most assuredly unprepared, like a health crisis, sudden death, lawsuit, or natural disaster. As an individual and a business owner, I prepare for these by spending a heck of a lot of money on insurance and hoping I never have to file that claim. The concept of an emergency fund is important and will help you through life’s smaller unexpected’s, like the loss of a recurring client or the day your printer died. Suze Orman, America’s Financial Advisor states that we should have 8 months’ worth of expenses saved for a rainy day in our personal lives. But the thing is, 8 months worth of savings doesn’t just appear in our accounts because we wish it. How do we get there? One day at a time, one dollar at a time…we drip our way to success. According to a 2017 Survey by GOBanking Rates, 57% of average Americans have less that $1000 set aside in a savings account. It makes the idea of a drip account even more powerful. Just because there are people all around us driving nice cars and living in nice homes doesn’t mean that there isn’t debt.
“Well-dressed poverty is still poverty”
My favorite business author, Mike Michalozicz says it best: “Well-dressed poverty is still poverty”. This concept is easily applied to business. Living in Chicago, I have too often and too easily been impressed when I make an appointment to meet up with a business associate at their Loop-location office high in the sky with a beautiful view of the city or Lake Michigan. Small business owners are some of the biggest culprits of this concept of impoverished wealth. If you feel your own blood pressure rising right now and heart thumping in your chest, I encourage you to start making changes today. Set up that first drip account with just $1 and drip your way to success. Is there a Christmas Day in your business? Maybe it is an annual insurance policy that must be paid in full every year or that your technology equipment is slowly and steadily reaching the end of its life and will need to be replaced. Set up a drip account now, today and start saving your first dollar toward that upcoming Christmas Day. When you do so, you are putting yourself first in your business, you are improving the financial health of your business and you are building your own insurance policy for the unexpected. How healthy is your business? I encourage you to set yourself up for success, starting this moment, starting right now. Set up that first Drip Account and start dripping your way to success.