One Item You Should Destroy Before Starting Your Business
It’s controversial, but you’re probably not the exception
If you’re in the space where you are building your thing or preparing mentally to make that giant investment to kickstart your future, then you should probably read through this entire article, not because you will agree with me, but because you may think twice about a certain item that so many of us think we can manage, but, truth be told, it usually manages us.
A credit card.
Listen, I’m no financial advisor, so don’t take this article as me advocating what you should do with your finances. Rather, join me as I unpack three reasons why destroying a credit card could in fact help you make it.
I’ve personally never had a credit card, but that is only because I consider myself incredibly risk-averse. However, I have watched how the power of a credit card stripped the life from those close to me. And, because I’m sure we are aware of the story that is told from those who have or have had credit cards, I’ve yet to meet someone who can tell my story as someone who has learned difficult business lessons as a result of choosing not to have one.
#1 A credit card may remove humanity from decision making
At 24, I was offered sole distribution of a product I was a consumer of, and deeply wanted to showcase locally.
I came across the product in Cannes, France. I did market research during my stay there and realized that I could bring the product home and use my marketing skills to hopefully achieve the same success I saw abroad.
I reached out to the company and they agreed to let me start a business and own distribution if I was willing to import half a million units.
Now, on paper, I just needed money. I had the heart and determination to commit the next season of my life to make this work. I know if I had a credit card, I would have spent money to make money. But I didn’t.
I reached out to my uncle who is an established businessman. I asked him if I could loan the money. It was a lot of money…
The emotional rollercoaster and amount of preparation I did for the pitch added an element of humanity and relational risk.
My uncle declined, for reasons I will elaborate on in the second point.
But the rejection from a loved one made this ask real and complex. If the only rejection I got was from a card declining, I don’t think the lesson would have stuck. Also, if it was too easy to swipe, I would have disguised the decision as a business expense… However, it was large enough to affect the rest of my life, not only professionally, but it could have crippled me personally.
#2 A credit card could see you jump over hurdles that are not worth clearing the first time
My uncle shared valuable insight with me when he declined to loan me the money.
He shared that if I cannot bring in a few units of the product myself, and allow for some time to see whether those in my community or extended friendship circles share the same enthusiasm about the product that I do, that I am robbing myself of the most important marketing tool: word of mouth.
He mentioned that funding an aggressive marketing campaign that was similar to what I saw worked internationally, may cost me both time and money, as there is no guarantee that what works abroad will work locally.
He shared examples of Coke and Pepsi campaigns that have had to be altered in different countries due to how people resonate with marketing.
He said that I should be patient and watch what works locally when I share the product and whether people would pay the price that I would charge.
The lesson here was that throwing money at a campaign you think works, is not guaranteed to expedite your business success. Being humble with what you can afford, may slow down your growth or even see a competitor take your market share, but it helps to live within your means, as opposed to swiping a card, expecting results.
#3 A credit card could add the pressure of your business needing to work
If you’ve got to this part of the article, thank you for being open-minded because the marketing behind the perks of credit cards is one tornado of false positives. Well, you need to spend money to make money… I prefer spending time to make money. Sweat equity is my preferred investment.
The reason why I’m so opposed to credit cards is that I have been in a position where I have been crippled by desperation for businesses to work. I have thrown every last cent I had into some businesses I started in the past… But, not a cent more.
A credit card could see you spend money that you do not have and that you cannot guarantee will flow in within a given time period.
You may even be tempted to buy courses on credit that promise you the world, and go into debt even before starting a business… Again, I was close to doing this too- luckily I never had the card because I am sure I would not have been strong enough to say no to all those sexy bonuses offered if you buy now.
I find that making business personal as if you were entering into a long-term relationship, allows you to identify whether the business you plan on spending time and money on is actually a good fit for you.
I thank God that I never started the business I almost got involved in. Turns out, I hate admin. If I owned so much of the supply chain I would have spent the majority of my time doing what drains my soul.
It took me another four years to eventually find what makes me tick, but the good news is I never went into debt, not even once.
My heart is that me sharing what life is like without a credit card, may either cause you to think differently or if you know someone who struggles with self-control, then maybe you will be able to share a new perspective with them.
I don’t think I’m better than anyone because I chose to never get a credit card, in fact, I think I am aware of how little self-control I have when I really want something that I would rather remove all temptation.
As I said, this is controversial, and if you’re the exception, perhaps consider not being too confident with that swipe-life.
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