#FinancialFebruary: 6 Quick Money Lessons from an Entrepreneur

by Lauren Berger

Editor’s Note: Financial February is sponsored by our partners at State Farm.

I started my business with almost nothing and I’ve grown it over the past 10 years into what it is today. I run InternQueen.com, CareerQueen.com, and the Intern Queen marketing agency. I’m also the author of 3 books — most recently, GET IT TOGETHER. When I started my business, I knew nothing about money (at least nothing super helpful). Over the years, I’ve had to learn how to manage a business, how to build a budget, how to offer employees a starting salary, and so much more. In this post, I share aa few quick tips that I’ve learned over the years about money.

  1. You don’t need big dollars to start. Today, everyone thinks that to be an entrepreneur, you must be alongside the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world and raise big money. The reality is, you don’t need that much to start. What you do need is a strong vision, strong focus, and a plan. I started my business with $5,000 in personal savings 10 years ago! Everyone said I couldn’t do it with that amount of money. I proved them wrong.
  2. Spend small and prove your plan. Because I didn’t start with a major investment, I never had “big money” to play around with. If I want to spend money on anything, I must start small, test the relationship (on a person or a service), and then decide if it makes sense on paper. Is there a positive ROI? Do I get a return on my investment? You have to start small before you can spend big. This is a lesson that everyone should follow (big business and small).
  3. Take Risks AND Proceed with Caution. It’s difficult to find the balance (as an entrepreneur) between spending money and being “risky” and really pushing the boundaries while maintaining some sort of safety net in the bank. I’ve never gone into credit card debt or been in a position (thankfully) when we can’t pay our team members. The way that I’ve found that balance is by deciding how much of a safety net I want in the bank and then making a conscious decision to “be risky” with the rest. Anything over the safety net is used to test and learn (and try new things!)
  4. Come Up with a Personal Savings Plan. After a few years of running my business fulltime, I was able to give my self a real (and scheduled) paycheck. I love to shop and spend (like anyone else) however, I always have a plan as to how much of my paycheck I’m going to put into my savings account. I really try to hold myself to that as when I start #Adulting, I want to have a nice sized savings account. Determine how much of each paycheck you’ll put aside, and start today!
  5. Expenses Add Up! Running a business is expensive and costs add up. It’s so important to know your costs, watch them with a close eye, and handle any discrepancies immediately. I used to avoid paying attention to random bills and invoices. I’d just pay them with a blind eye. I didn’t realize that many companies were over-charging me and I lost a lot of money by simply not paying attention. Today, I’m 100% all over everything, this has totally changed.
  6. Own It. It’s Okay. It’s Your Business and Your Life. Since starting my business 10 years ago, I’ve had plenty of people complain that I pay “too much attention” to each invoice and each line item. I’m PROUD that I care enough about my business to monitor the spending. Don’t let any customer, vendor, employee, or anyone else make you feel bad for taking care of the financial health of your business. If you don’t, who will?

About the Author:

Lauren Berger founded Intern Queen Inc. in 2009 after recognizing the need for a more personalized way for young people to connect with the internships and career opportunities of their dreams. Today, she runs both internqueen.com and the big-sister site for the brand, careerqueen.com. She also founded and oversees the IQ Campus Marketing Agency which helps connect brands with the ambitious network of young people using her platforms.

Berger is a champion for young ambitious people fighting their way to the top. Years ago, she was one of them. Today, she’s their hero.