Ladies and gentlemen of the Start-up World get in here!
One mistake you cannot afford to make as an entrepreneur is not understanding how money creation works as a function of value creation or refinement. Corporate employees can get away with this provided they have a specialized understanding of the aspect of the finance equation related to their job description. As an entrepreneur, you absolutely cannot afford this luxury. What happens is that you frustrate every idea that you cannot bring to life because of lack of knowledge of how monetary value can be created from an idea and the consequences would mostly be the loss of benefit(s) that could potentially be yours: investors, market share, recognition etc.
Let me give you an instance, I always wanted to do something in T.V (I probably still will) but I just couldn’t figure out how money was made from T.V. I mean the real generation and flow of money via T.V programs. Because of this, I could never quite develop my ideas around this because I could not map out how to allocate resources or what my value propositions would be for collaborations or anything that could potentially be of help to the development of the idea. I tell you, it’s just a long messy business.
So let’s start from the very beginning.
Indulge your curiosity
Somehow, just somehow, we have been made to believe that expressing curiosity unveils your ignorance and tags you “slow” especially when there is a certain level of expectation of you to know some things. The truth however, is that expressing curiosity truly dispels ignorance. We need to recondition our minds to understand that no matter the reason or circumstance, the only outcome of not asking a question is not having an answer. This is exactly what we do not want because while questions are a pathway to knowledge, the knowledge itself resides in the answers.
Thanks to the millennial disposition to embrace google at the expense of 1001 other viable forms of learning, it is actually in a sense, easier to access a wider range and depth of knowledge including opportunities to meet and impress mentors especially if your approach is brilliant. People are actually willing to offer you more experiential learning experiences than you think through conversations, assignments etc. provided they recognize your inclination to deploy the knowledge being dispersed to you.
Take advantage of this and ask right. You really do not have to burden a particular person with the responsibility of curing your 20-something years’ worth of financial ignorance. You can glean from the experiences of different maestros and sources and embrace the robustness that comes with fitting the jigsaw pieces together. The good think about genuine thirst for knowledge is that it is seldom satiable.
Task Yourself to Deploy
True understanding of a subject matter comes with being able to exercise your knowledge of it in various forms. I cannot say that I am a well-rounded person if I was a great child but am clueless about being a functional adult. I cannot call myself a pastry chef if all I know how to make are fish and meat pies; I would simply be a meat and fish pie chef. Linearity is great for specialization but the thing is that as an entrepreneur, you have an equally great need for generalist skills, one of which would be finance. General here does not imply a basic understanding because you certainly need to be darn good at certain things for your outcomes to leave the comfort zone. Or don’t you think it is more comfortable to manage smaller wealth portfolios than the larger ones.
My point? Deploy the knowledge you gained from indulging your curiosity. This is vital whether or not you have a functional financial system to apply it to. Have conversations that’ll allow for you to regurgitate what you know and be challenged, write about and invent scenarios, design case studies or at least try to solve already existing ones, volunteer to help solve a money problem. Just do whatever that allows you to exercise that knowledge and make sure that in the end, you create some form of value other than money itself.
Let me tell you something important: You unconsciously make demands on yourself for the resources you’ve been provided with. That is to say that when your mind probes and cannot find gratification in you applying the knowledge that you were privy to (either through increased financial gain, competence or recognition), you will begin to feel frustrated about that issue. You’ll find yourself saying things like “I just can’t get a hang of it”, “Despite my efforts…”, “I need more clarity” etc. You see, clarity on anything comes be engaging that thing.
Money is a busy-body that craves attention. Take a look at your bills for the month and tell me that that’s a lie. You also need to work out ways to demand money’s attention and have it flow in your direction. Make rules for your money, track how it walks in and out on you. What are your beliefs about it and how healthy are they? What are your expense triggers and how much control do you have over them?
What I am basically trying to say is that as an entrepreneur or anyone really, you need to learn the behavioral patterns of money in your life and business. That way, you can put a leash on it and in more ways than a few, get it to function in a manner that is favorable to you. The goal here is to heighten your consciousness of the roles money and finance in general play in your everyday life and business and being able to navigate these events with a higher degree of awareness.
Part of this engagement is enjoying the dividends of controlling money. There’s very little that hails money and spurs you on to making more than a functional reward system. Learn about those and deploy. Actively try your hands at earning, investing, saving and spending wisely. Don’t overdo just an aspect of this engagement and if possible, make this exploration with someone with shared values and interests.
In being consistent with these seemingly easy steps, you’ll find yourself demystifying the concept of wealth creation and being able to explore it in manners that you once considered beyond you. You must understand that you will continue to be a creative who runs around in circles of ideas and brainstorming sessions until you figure out how you can string these ideas like beads onto a string, with money/finance being the string in this case.
You should come to see that while it seems as though money is the outcome of implementing your ideas, it is really more importantly, a vehicle for driving execution. The wealth that you build as dividends of your successful business can be considered a favorable outcome for your personal life as the entrepreneur but as long as were talking business, it’s capital and you must know how to source and explore it to its limits.
Don’t brush the simplicity of these tips aside; personally, I sought the deep, technical and cutting-edge answers to my money mindset issues but had to learn that a great deal of the answers that I kept on getting fit nicely in these three boxes. And no matter how you’re pocket is, I am learning that there’s no perfect place to start. For what it’s worth, broke makes for a more dramatic start, a possibly more interesting journey and more jaw-dropping testimonials when you hit milestones, so get started anyway.