How Overspending Nearly Crushed My Business

This is for the online-course-addicts out there.

The entrepreneurial shopaholics.

You know who you are.

I see you buying the courses. I see you doing the coaching. I feel you burning with guilt over the many, many modules you purchased but never consumed. The hours of coaching you never cashed in on. The mastermind group you attend 25% of the time.

You don’t need me reminding you. You have your credit card statements for that. Months and months of pending payments.

It made sense at the time, right? You were going to implement the shit outta all those programs, weren’t you. 5x-ing your revenue each time, maybe more. Those payments were gonna be a drop in the bucket compared to all that sweet cash rolling in.

Except here we are.

Programs a-plenty. And the money keeps rolling out.

I feel you, program-aholic.

I feel you because I am you.

Here’s the straight dope, okay? I built my brand on fearless authenticity, and I’m about to drop some hard truth about what I’ve been doing with my sexy 6-figure income. (Hint: it’s not just organic kale.)

But first.

Rewind to 2015.

For years I had kept myself in struggle and scarcity precisely because I chose NOT to invest in my business. I opt-ed for free resources. Read blog posts and collected endless freebie downloads. I jumped headfirst into every funnel, and said “no” every time it came to the sale.

I spent almost nothing and kept my business small. Used Mailchimp because it was free. Wasted hours setting up crappy pop-ups using free software. Designed every thing myself.

Then came B-School. And everything changed.

Once I caught a glimpse of what was on the other side of my spend-o-phobia – private FB groups, niche entrepreneurial communities, seriously powerful training, exclusive masterminds with A-list players – I went crazy with cash.

The more I earned, the more I spent.

As long as our fridge was well-stocked with farm-fresh produce & grass-fed beef, I figured my job was done. Everything else went back into my business.

I’d come home broadcasting my big wins: My first $10k month! Then $20k! Then $2k…in 1 day! Such-and-such a rockstar client wants to meet me! I won the awesomeness award!

Big wins.

And yet other than the occasional celebratory dinner, most of that cash got redirected back into the business. More programs. More coaching. More masterminding.

More, more, more.

I got very good at receiving money, but not so great at hanging on to it.

I tapped with Brad on “Allowing Money” and “Making Money Beyond Belief”. I exorcised my underearning demons and preached to my husband about releasing judgments around money.

…while all the while spending, spending, spending.

Nothing set aside for taxes.

Nothing set aside for savings.

Investing in my business always seemed more important than putting money into an RSP.Click To Tweet I mean, my business basically IS my retirement plan, right? Instead of putting money aside for taxes, I decided I’d simply spend everything so that I wouldn’t owe anything at the end of the year.

I made my share of big financial decisions based on “future profit”. So far, I haven’t done any real damage. I don’t carry credit card debt in my business. I pay in full every month. But because I’ve chosen to spend so heavily in my business, my family hasn’t really seen the full impact of my success. And to be honest, neither have I.

(Okay full disclosure: I have a really nice wardrobe of beautiful, locally-designed clothing. It’s super high-end and I feel zero guilt about it. I’ve worn hand-me-downs my whole life; I prefer picking out my own clothes.)

Last week I had coffee with my entrepreneur gal-pal Ashley Brown, who runs a wildly successful VA business and follows the “Profit First” model. My jaw almost fell on the floor when she told me about this model of distributing business revenue.

The Profit First model looks like this:

15% taxes

35% business expenses

50% pay yourself

My business model looks something like this:

0% taxes

80% spending on my business

20% pay myself

Pay yourself fifty percent? Fifty freakin’ percent?? Like, 5-0 fifty?

Woah. #mindblown

As suspected, I need to make some serious changes.

I haven’t got it figured out yet. And I still believe you have to spend money to make money. (Sometimes a really uncomfortable amount). I still believe traveling to conferences, investing in high-end mastermind groups and private coaching are all essential for accelerated business growth.

….but at some point, you do have to pay yourself.

Me I’m starting with a Subaru.

This car is so ripe with meaning, I’m getting choked up just thinking about it.

I’m 32, and it’s my first car. We paid for it in cash, outright. No car loan. No monthly payments. No loan from the in-laws.

This car is a really big deal for me.

I’ve spent most of my life basically broke as sh*t. Living on next to nothing. I’ve done a lot with very little. Rambled through the bamboo forest in Kyoto, spent weeks in silent meditation with a very fine guru, and fallen asleep in the back of a van many a summer night at the drive-in.

Life has been incredibly rich, just not in the financial sense of the word.

But I’m ready to (also) be rich in the literal sense. Buying a Subaru for my family is my first official act of reclaiming my income. And it feels pretty damn good.

I don’t know what’s next, but I’m damn well gonna share it when I do.

Because building a business isn’t just about me. My family is in this too. And all those awesome entrepreneurs who watch my videos, read my emails and buy my stuff…they have families too.

This is for all of us. Someone has to set the example.

Sometimes it’s not about grabbing the latest online course 5 seconds before cart close, or snagging the last spot in Some Expert Dude’s highly exclusive mastermind.

It’s just about not freezing up when the 1st of the month comes around. Not freaking out when the “check engine” light comes on. Choosing the grass-fed butter instead of the store brand variety, even if it is triple the price.

It’s about paying in cash, and celebrating the fact that you can.

xo,

Tarzan

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  • Sarah

    I’ve recently implemented Profit First – it really makes you make hard decisions.

  • Justin Blackman

    You didn’t buy that car, lady. You earned it.

  • Ashlie Pappas

    Way to go buying a Subaru instead of another business tool!

    I was ROLLING with laughter because I can relate business model-wise! Especially when it comes to the re-investing everything to avoid owing at the end of the year. Your words came at a perfect time, thank you for sharing such a beautiful message! I am going to (probably very apprehensively…) try to Profit First plan.

  • Anouck Meier

    Here in Belgium, it’s more like this: a whopping 50% in taxes & social security and 50% to cover business expenses and pay yourself. Often times there just isn’t a lot left to invest back into your business…