Maybe it’s because I still feel like most people would openly discuss details of their sex life, rather than open up honestly about their financial situation.
Maybe it stems back to my own issues of being ashamed of my own debt and unwillingness to talk about money.
But for whatever the reason, these days, more than anything, I just LOVE it when people are brave and confident enough to talk openly about their financial situation — especially when it’s less than perfect.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with more than 100 women who were brave enough to do just that; to own that they wanted to level up their own financial situation and commit to doing something about it by joining my program Your Richest Year.
These women were amazing — they were smart, successful, driven and although everyone had their own unique money goals – saving more, investing more, earning more, many wanted the smartest possible strategy to pay off their debt once and for all. Another common theme was that many went into debt simply because they were following their dream to start their own business, to create their own freedom and follow their life’s passion.
And there’s nothing wrong with taking on some debt to start a business, because when you’re just starting out you’ve got to do whatever it takes, and it takes money to get things off the ground — and sometimes (but not always) that means taking on some debt. But for these women, even years after getting their business up and running, and with money coming in and success in their business, they still couldn’t get a grip on their debt. But should this really be surprising, considering paying off debt is a skill we aren’t really taught anywhere?
We’ve been working together inside of Your Richest Year from about six months now, and these women from all over North America, who started off as strangers, all became a circle of very special friends. They are some of the most inspiring women I know and their success in achieving their financial goals, especially those paying down their debt in only six months blew me away. Because I was once in their position and I know so many other smart business owners struggle with debt, I would love to share what I learned from their stories and the specific strategies they implemented to ditch their debt for good in record time.
Get it out in the open.
When we run our own business we juggle so many things and it’s very easy to let things we don’t want to deal with stay out of site, out of mind. I have a very close friend who used to keep her unopened credit card bills in the microwave. But getting your debt right out in the open (and out of the microwave), where you can’t avoid it, is very important. All of the women who paid off their debt in Your Richest Year took the time to write out these four things about their debt and post it somewhere they would see it everyday.
I remember doing this only a few years ago with my own debt, and I broke out in hives in the process. But, facing it was what I needed to do to feel like I was taking back control and saying thank you. Yes, thank you. Let me explain what I mean by that, because this exercise was a game-changer for the women in our boot camp. Next to all of their balances, interest rates and minimum payments they wrote a big bold thank you for what their debt afforded them to do. Think about that right now; did your debt help you start your business, did it give you the office of your dreams, were you able to travel to Europe for art school? Facing your debt, getting it out in the open and feeling a bit of gratitude instead of guilt and fear just might be exactly what you need to face the reality and finally kiss it goodbye for good. For Sheena, hair stylist from California, it was this seemingly simple shift that helped her pay off thousands of dollars of her high interest credit card debt in just 4 months!
Focus on life beyond your debt.
So debt is part of your situation— that’s okay. Like every piece of your financial situation, you can create and plan, take control and mange it. You’re clearly a doer and you’re going to pay that debt off, but you’ll do it much faster and with way less headache if you have a crystal-clear picture of what your life will look like debt-free. Will you have more freedom to launch your next product line? Will you sleep better knowing the money you make from your business can now go towards supporting your family?
Lori, who paid off more than $25,000 of debt my program, shared with me that she could literally taste the freedom that being debt-free would give her. She could see the trip she and her son would be able to take together and she could feel the sense of pride she would have knowing that she paid for the trip in-full, ahead of their vacation. This vision is what kept her going, it’s what gave her the motivation to pay off more than $25,000 and take her dream trip to Alaska with her son. When you think about your life and your business debt-free, what will you have the freedom to do that you can’t right now?
Put the snowball or avalanche method to work.
The snowball method is by far the most powerful method I’ve seen for paying debt down. Collette paid off a huge portion of her graduate school student loan using this system and shared with me that it permanently shifted everything she thought she knew about paying down debt. Here’s how it works: you start by putting as much money as you can towards either your debt with the highest interest rate (avalanche), or your debt with the smallest balance(snowball), while still paying the minimum on larger debts. Once the first debt is paid off, you take what was being applied to the first and start paying that towards the next debt, gradually proceeding until all of your debts are squashed. It’s simple and it works and will save you potentially THOUSANDS of dollars in interest.
Get your bank and credit card company on speed dial.
Having a conversation with someone at your bank or credit card company will likely save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you’re paying off debt. That’s worth a phone call, don’t you think? When I picked up the phone and finally called, I saved myself thousands of dollars in interest and unnecessary fees by canceling a fee that I had blindly paid monthly for years — something called consumer protection insurance, which some banker had convinced me was necessary when I first got my credit card in college. And I know so many other business owners who share the same experience; one of my close friends Hilary shared with me that she was shocked at how helpful her bank was while she was paying her debt down. They helped her find consolidation options and saved her thousands in interest. Now, here’s the secret — because I know you don’t want to spend your precious time trapped in robo-voice land trying desperately to reach a real human being — before you dial, enter your bank or credit card’s name into a website called gethuman.com. Doing this will give you the best phone number or dial combination to get you directly to a helpful, real human every single time.
Of course, there is no question that paying off debt requires organization, discipline and yes, you do have to face the numbers. But in my experience, those who are the most successful at paying down their debt do two things differently than most. First, they focus on why they want to be debt-free and secondly, and most importantly, they have someone to support them and hold them accountable along the way. This person could be a mentor, another business owner, your partner, or maybe you join us inside Your Richest Year. Get on the waitlist HERE to be the first to know when doors open.
An accountability partner can be found in a lot of places, but having someone you trust to support you and cheer you on is, in my experience, the biggest success factor in finally achieving your money goals.. Because working towards any big goal is hard, but having a cheering squad behind you just might make the journey a bit easier to take.