“If you are born poor it is not your mistake, but if you die poor it is your mistake.”
Greetings from Costa Rica! I’ve been here for the past few days at the new MOBE Resort. The place has changed a lot. Last time I was here was late last year.
Each day there’s over 85 workers scurrying around trying to get the renovations done for our grand opening. Everything’s happening at the same time. Roll on lawns are covering 8 acres of dirt. Kitchens are being built. Bathrooms are being retiled. Trucks are coming in and out with delivery’s.
We just had a few shipping containers arrive from China, with the custom tiles I wanted (am modeling another resort I saw in Mexico years ago, but we couldn’t find similar tiles anywhere in Costa Rica so we had to import).
I also flew over here to speak at a small group training we had for some of our highest paying clients—the ones in the picture to the right, below.
During my talk, one of these clients asked me this question on behalf of his own prospects:
“If I don’t have money to get started, should I just give up?”
The reality is, lack of money never stopped any entrepreneur from moving forwards to pursue their dreams.
If you want to become a business owner and start the path to quitting your day job, you cannot think or talk negatively like this. You cannot have a limited mindset—because if you think negative you’re not going to last very long in this business.
Being an entrepreneur is all about solving problems. A lack of funds is just a temporary problem.
If you look hard enough, you can always go and find the resources you need.
Someone once told me something that has always stuck with me.
They said, “It’s not about being a person of resources, it’s about being a resourceful person.”
No matter what challenges are in front of you, whether it’s lack of money, lack of time, scaling your business, or many other problems that come up—you cannot let these challenges stop you. You must always find a way around them.
When I give this advice to people, sometimes it frustrates them because they say, “Matt, that’s easy for you to say. You’ve got money but you really don’t understand my situation.”
I actually do.
How I started my first business—with NO money:
Back when I was 18 years old, I went to Canada on a backpacking road-trip for almost a year—and I spent almost all of my money, which at the time was about 12 grand. Looking back I’m amazed I managed to stretch that money so far.
When I realized I was out of money, I decided to go back home to Perth, Australia. I signed up for classes at the local university, but I still didn’t have much money. And of course, I wanted more money—so what should I do?
There were two different options—I could either get a low-paying hourly job to pay my bills week-to-week, or I could start my own small business and make money my own way. I took the second option and decided to start a little lawn mowing business.
I named my business “Home Helpers,” but I didn’t officially register the business or anything because I knew I needed some money fast.
Then I printed fliers that said I was willing to mow lawns, clean gardens, clean houses, and all of those little jobs around the house. I printed off about 200 fliers, started walking around, and didn’t stop until I had placed every one of them in peoples mailboxes around the local neighborhood.
Within a few hours, I had gone from developing the idea for my mowing company, made the flyers, hit the road, and handed them all out …
I waited two-full days for a response, but I got absolutely zero phone calls. But on the third day, one guy actually called me … His name was Allen, and he was a very nice man in his 80s. I found out later he was the former CEO of a big insurance company. He called me and said,“I’m interested in having you come and mow my lawns.” So I told him“Great, I’ll do it!”
I went to over to his house, mowed his lawn, cleaned his garden, and I had a great attitude about it. I was just happy to be working.
He saw I was a hard worker and that I actually cared about doing a good job.
He asked me if I’d like to come back and do the same job every week. I agreed to come back, and he paid me $50 for three hours of work.
Over time we started to become friends. Around the fifth time I worked there, I asked him, “Allen, do you have any neighbors who might have some kind of work for me that I could do? You know, mow their lawns and things like that.”
“Of course I do” he said—and that day he introduced me to several neighbors.
A few weeks later I had three-or-four clients in the same neighborhood, and then I got those people to refer their friends and neighbors to me as well.
Before I knew it I had over 10 regular clients. For about half of my day I’d have university classes, but the rest of my time was spent gardening, mowing lawns, cleaning toilets, and doing the little odd jobs these wealthy people didn’t want to do.
I literally saved all of the cash I was being paid. After a few years of doing this I had accumulated over $60,000. A good portion of this I invested in Vanguard index funds, and the rest was in a high interest savings account where I’d lose that month’s interest if I made a withdrawal.
I kid you not, but in the first 3 years of opening that bank account I didn’t make a single withdrawal.
The moral of the story here is that if you’re determined enough to find the money to start or fund your business, you’ll find the money.
It’s the exact same thing with time too.
People sometimes say to me, “I really want to start a business, but I don’t have the money or the time to do it … ”
Not true. They might believe their own lies, but I certainly don’t.
I want to say to them, “have you really sat down and deeply thought about every possible way you could find the money or you could find the time?”
The one thing I know is there’s always a way. Always.
By the way, being resourceful and finding money is something that entrepreneurs are always involved in.
Right now I’m trying to buy one of the prime islands in Fiji to build my second resort on for MOBE.
It’s going to cost MANY times what I paid for my Costa Rica one—and that’s just for the land! The 200 room resort I intend to build on the island over the next 5 years will cost a whole lot more.
We’re talking multiple 8 figures and beyond.
Do you think I have all that cash to fund this project just sitting in my bank accounts?
Of course not! I’m rich, but not that rich!
I have to go find the money.
That’s why I was in Fiji last week. I was meeting with bankers, and also talking to the seller to put together a deal where I could finance the deal over time.
My point is, resourcefulness is a skill you need to develop over time, and will be needed on a regular basis throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
P.S. Hope you can make it to the MOBE Resort when it opens. Here’s a list of some future events we’ll be hosting here in 2017.