In 1971 I saved up all my money and bought a motorhome... for Barbie. It took me quite awhile to save for it, so I was very excited to finally be able to bring it home, unpack it, put on all the stickers, and play. Now Barbie, Francie, and Skipper too, could all have on-the-road adventures, either beside the kitchen table, or out in the grass in the big outdoors. Wow, I loved the camper! Especially since I had paid for it with my own hard-earned money.
When I got my first job, I bought a Seiko dress watch. I think I paid around $78 for it. That was a lot of money for me. (A lot more than a Barbie RV.) I wore that watch everywhere. I still have it in a drawer somewhere, a monument to my first real job, my first paycheck. Anytime I looked down at that watch I knew I had earned the money to pay for it.
When I graduated from high school, I gathered up all my checks and bought the one thing I had wanted more than anything else for the longest of longest times. I actually had to work for my mother a few extra weeks to earn the additional $75 I needed to have enough. My mother questioned my decision. Was I sure I wanted to spend all that money on a Smith Corona portable electric typewriter? Ooohbaby! You know it! I named her Clairabell. (Hey, guys name cars, don't they?) Oh, I know, she wasn't one of those sleek IBM Selectrics with the typeball, but, she hummed. And she was mine.
Not long after Tim and I were married, we bought a house. Then a year after that, we moved to Pennsylvania, where I discovered I was pregnant. Buying special things with my own money became past history. Every penny we had went to pay bills for our growing family and life.
When I started my first business, I received a monthly paycheck of... (ta-da!) $25. No, that isn't a typo. No it wasn't decades ago when $25 bought a lot more. Actually, it was a lot closer to now than you might think. But that $25 was mine. I bought books, cassette tapes (okay, maybe it wasn't yesterday, but I was slow to move to CDs, darnit), and other personal items I might not have splurged for otherwise.
Sometimes I saved that $25 for a month so I'd have $50, or I'd combine it with a birthday check for extra cash. Wow, the things I could buy. It's amazing how far $25 can go. It's even more amazing how long one might hang on to a few dollars when they know it is totally theirs, especially when they haven't had any "mad money" for the longest time.
As my business grew and my income expanded, I found I could finance things our family might not have otherwise had. Nearly all of the boys' homeschooling materials were paid for by me over the years, as well as all of my computer and business equipment. I loved being able to contribute in this way!
Along the way, I learned one very important thing. I never knew for sure if or when that next check would be coming, or how much it would be. I literally based my business on faith. Faith the next client would show up. Faith they would pay their invoice on time (and in full). Faith that they would tell their friends that I did a good job. And that worked. Month after month, bill after bill, the money came and went, all purely on faith.
Nevertheless, when it came to managing expenses, faith had little to do with it.
I remember reading once, quite awhile ago now, that when Bill Gates built Microsoft he always made sure they could pay six months of expenses with cash on hand. While I can't claim that is true for me, I always pay my credit card bills in full when they come. And more importantly, I never buy anything without knowing that the money to pay that bill will be in hand when it arrives.
Staying out of debt has kept my spirit-based company growing, solvent, and thriving, even in a restricted economy.
Today, I still buy fun things. It's no longer Barbie campers. Instead, it's computer software, gadgets, and techno-wizard stuff, things I can use to expand my business boundaries and reach. I even bought myself an education. (Now that was purchase I'm extremely proud of.) I'm not afraid to try new things, or to learn how to use something new. What I am afraid of is going into debt. If I go into debt, the fun ends.
If you are running a spiritual business, then you may understand what it is to work on faith. You may have seen miracles where money comes in just as you need it. (I have.) You may have had clients show up out of nowhere right at the right time. (Synchronicity works that way.) Yet none of these things should be a reason to allow one's self to go into debt. You cannot create a business on a negative bank balance any more than you can on a negative attitude.
If you've been living from paycheck to paycheck in your business and are struggling to get out of debt, I encourage you to do whatever you must to relieve yourself of that burden. It will hold you down like a suitcase full of bricks when you want to be a helium filled balloon. Debt will hinder you from making the decisions you really need to make at the moment they suddenly come knocking at your door.
Just as in spirituality where you want your spirit to soar and must lighten your soulful burdens in order to do so, so must you lighten your debt if you want your business to arise. Get out of debt, stay out of debt, and structure your spending to stay within your earnings' means. And above all...
Remember This Key to Success: Count your blessings... and Your Pennies Too!
*You Tube Tuesday
Josh from "Its Tiger Time" came up with You Tube Tuesday. Every Tuesday we set a day aside for sharing a favourite video. Feel free to join in and let's have fun seeing how creative us Bloggers can be! The video can be about anything. If you participate, please remember to leave your link at Josh´s site, where this event originated from.