Jesse Mecham is the co-founder of youneedabudget.com, a system that helps business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers stay in control of their finances and manage cash flow effectively. Using four core principles, Jesse managed to turn HIS life around by making each dime he earnt go further, and today, he helps people like YOU maximize the money you have, essentially freeing you of financial worries and letting you focus on what really matters – your family, and your business.
- How to gain TOTAL control of your cash flow… whether you’re a solo-entrepreneur, or a 30+ office-based team…
- Why recognizing your expenses is vital to producing a variable income… and the simple ways to figure out what you DO and DON’T need, to cut costs and save more money…
- Why most self-employed marketers won’t ever escape from the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle’. (Read post #1 to discover how you CAN, and start saving more money than you thought possible) …
- The surprising reason why most marketers are AFRAID of money… and how to ‘destroy’ this fear to reduce stress and improve your motivation, happiness, and quality of life…
- How most Internet Marketers subconsciously hold themselves back with self-inflicted barriers. (It’s EASY to remove these ‘road-blocks’ and start growing your career… when you know how! Post #2 reveals HOW) …
- The simple ways to monitor your personal finances… and how spending more, can SAVE you money in the long run…
- Why investing in products, resources, and YOURSELF can grow your wealth FAST… and the simple ways to validate ANY purchase, to make sure it’s the right decision for you…
- How… in one year… Jesse increased his business’s profitability by 49%, doubled his staff, and increased overall revenue… and how YOUR business can see similar success, with just a few small changes…
- Why bookkeeping is VITAL to the successful financial future of your career. (You might THINK you need to pay thousands to an accountant each year… but post #4 reveals how to do it ALL yourself) …
- Little-known techniques to add clarity to your business ideas and make every single dollar you spend, count…
Post 1: Gain Total Control of Your Business Cash Flow
A little while ago I was speaking at a conference of software entrepreneurs. Most of the attendees were solo founders and solo operators. One business owner—let’s call him John—introduced himself after my talk, and the conversation quickly found itself in an area where I have only recently become comfortable: managing a large (to me) team.
John manages a team of about 30 developers and designers. He develops custom mobile solutions for clients, and because he’s good at what he does, he has a lot of work thrown his way and needs a lot of hands to get all of that work done.
John deals with large customers who are used to stringing him along for payment as long as possible. He also deals with employees, whom you never string along. As a result of this, John’s typical monthly process is something like this: “Payroll is in 25 days. How much money do I need to collect from clients in order to make payroll?”
Repeat that same question every few days: “Payroll is in 12 days. Have we collected enough money to make payroll?”
“Payroll is in four days. How are we on collecting?”
Bear in mind that John’s operation is doing north of $4 million in revenue each year, but he is still answering the same stress-inducing question that business owners of any size ask themselves: Can I afford this?
If this owner had a sense of what every dollar in his checking account was for, had tucked away some money from previous good months to help with these mini-collection crises, and had rolled with the punches on other expenses during the month once he saw he was going to have trouble collecting, payroll would then be a simple transaction, not a Big Hairy Deal that rears its ugly head twice a month.
What is YNAB?
YNAB is a system I designed for my own personal life and business that is a unique, four-rule method of thinking about and managing cash flow. It’s particularly effective for people that run their own business. Especially if that business produces a variable income. I’m getting ahead of myself though. First, the four rules:
● Give every dollar a job.
● Embrace your true expenses.
● Roll with the punches.
● Age your money
Don’t worry about not knowing exactly what I’m talking about. And don’t discount what you’re about to read if the above appears simplistic! Those Four Rules transformed the way I managed my business. They eliminated my financial stress, boosted my company’s growth, and helped me feel at peace when making critical business decisions.
To understand my transformation, and to see how you can experience that same transformation, allow me to take us back to November of 2002.
How I Became a Small Business Owner
Two weeks earlier, I had asked my girlfriend Julie to marry me. She said yes.
This wonderful event led me to run some “once we’re married” spreadsheet scenarios. Our financial outlook was bleak. We didn’t own a car or a computer. Julie had a final semester before she would graduate in social work and land a full-time job with the state making a whopping $10.50 an hour. I was staring at three years of rigorous study before I could complete my Masters of Accountancy degree and expect my first paycheck as a CPA. In the meantime, I was making $10 an hour as a part-time German teacher.
Yes, the financial outlook was bleak. I figured if any poor newlywed couple needed to watch every penny, we did.
Shortly after we married in February 2003, I approached Julie with the spreadsheet I had built: “Hey, what if we used this spreadsheet to track our spending and kind of plan what we want to do with our money?”
It was the honeymoon phase. She readily agreed.
One year later, I was staring at that same spreadsheet. Our budgeting and planning had been phenomenal. We had money in the bank, I had a great part-time internship making $14 an hour, and only two years of schooling remained.
But our first child was on the way.
Julie and I had two financial priorities: 1) allow her to stay home with our son full-time, and 2) finish school without borrowing any money.
I ran some projections for managing without Julie’s income: Could I work 30 hours per week? Could we save significant grocery money by not eating meat? Could I share textbooks with a fellow penny-pinching friend? Each question led to the same undesirable answer: Our savings wouldn’t last through the end of school. Specifically, we would be short about $350 each month.
The $350 monthly shortfall taunted me. I sat at my desk and crunched more numbers. I felt defeated. Coincidentally, our rent was $350 per month. The amount suddenly had meaning. I
had given it a name, and that name was Rent. If I could come up with a way to just make rent each month, we’d be fine.
Two days later I had my answer.
“Julie, do you think we could sell our budgeting system? It’s worked well for us. It would work for others.”
Julie responded without missing a beat, “I don’t think it would sell.”
It was one of the few times I didn’t listen to my wife.
Three months later, in September 2004, I launched YouNeedABudget.com (people immediately started calling it YNAB, pronounced why-nab). My focus was to help individuals and families gain control of their money, just as we had.
The new business made enough money for me to finish school, pay for our first and second baby, and graduate without taking on any student loan debt. I went to work for a large accounting firm and obtained my CPA license in 2006. Just one year later, I let that license lapse when I realized YNAB might actually have legs. We committed to making YNAB my full-time work.
YNAB has done very well. We were one of Utah’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. We’re no longer a solo operation; we have a 42-person team spanning the globe. This little self-funded business that was meant to pay my $350 rent has grown into a multi-million dollar business.
The best stat of all: We have helped hundreds of thousands of families and business owners break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, pay off mountains of debt, and save more money than they thought possible.
This series is not about where YNAB is now. It’s about how I took my same method of money management for families and applied it to my business. It’s about how I took my business from stressful to stress-free. You’ll see how I used the YNAB method to overcome all of the fears, shortcomings, and irrational tendencies I had as a small business owner. You’ll see how you can master that most important business metric of all: the money.