Whether one is earning a healthy income or limited income, one of the most difficult things to do is save money for a rainy day. That was the message Emporia multiple business owner Boyce Adams delivered during last week’s Young Adult Summit sponsored by Dr. Carolyn Carey at Greater Shiloh Baptist Church.
To work toward financial freedom one needs to be putting money into their savings account every month. Adams said it does not matter if it is for a business or personal account, the discipline to save money and grow the account is essential to the effort of gaining financial freedom. The first thing one does to move toward the financial freedom goal is to put all of the expenses on paper, itemize and add it together to see where you are.
“When you get to your fun money, you’re going to be nauseated, because you’re fun money is not going to be where you want it to be,” Adams said. “That’s called life. We all know that. But we have got to be able to pull as much money as possible to get in that savings account.”
Adams grew up in Emporia and attended Greensville County Public Schools for some time, but was diagnosed with dyslexia. He went to a boarding school, but said that really did not help him. After graduating he attended college but never finished. He worked as a short-order cook and then sold suits on commission.
Selling suits on a commission-based salary taught Adams a business lesson he would file away in his mind. His venture into becoming a business man was still more than a decade into the future, but it was nevertheless a learning experience. Adams spent 12 years as a firefighter in Richmond before returning to Emporia. As a business owner he has his hand in several businesses and an office at his Emporia Storage facility.
He recalled his experience working for others and the lessons learned along the way. There were difficult times for Adams. He uses the experience gained when he gives advice to young people fairly new to the workforce.
“Your not always going to be happy, especially when it comes to the workplace,” he said. “Life is not fair. Your boss is going to yell at you and you or going to put your head down and go back to work. You’re in business for yourself even if you don’t own a business. If you are working for someone, listen to what they say, right or wrong and file it away in your brain. Every invention in the world is somehow re-invented better, faster and quicker.”
Setting goals as a business owner or as an employee working for someone is essential to Adams. He said becoming a business owner should be everyone’s goal, but for those still working as an employee, setting goals to move up the ladder success is also important in the learning experience.
As a business owner Adams said he always looks at “risk vs. gain” and puts it on paper. He said the same motto can be used not only for business owners, but any aspect of finance, whether it is business or personal. Put the pros and cons on a piece of paper and weigh the options. Even after following that process there is a pretty good chance the plan does not turn out quite as one thought it would. In fact, the idea can fail. Failure is an important part of the learning experience.
Driving back and forth from his Richmond home every day, Adams said he comes up with a lot of business ideas. When thought completely through some of the ideas are bad. Some put into practice turn out to be bad ideas.
“We all have bad ideas,” Adams said. “But take the bad idea and ween off the negatives and your next idea is going to be better.”
Starting a business can be tricky. Adams said the best way to finance a business is with personal savings, but the reality is most will need a bank loan. He has done both and used a combination of personal and outside financing to start a business. Approaching a bank for a start-up business loan can be tedious, but it forces one to do what is needed.
“You have to present to the bank a detailed summary of how your business is going to operate, what you think you are going to earn and what your projected outcome is going to be,” Adams said. “That’s going to actually help you come up with your pros and cons.”
Adams said a prospective business owner still should put something of their own into the business to make the transition less stressful, and it will be stressful. Putting up collateral, such as a home that could be lost if a business fails will always bring stress to a new venture.
Credit cards are not an Adams favorite, but unfortunately a necessity when trying to build a credit score. He said people should own a credit card but use it as little as possible. He suggested buying a meal a month and paying it off on time to build a credit score. When the credit card bill comes in and the bill balance is not paid off money is being thrown down the drain.
Insurance is also a must have. Life insurance, health insurance and business insurance for business owners are needed to protects assets. Rosa Brown, a life insurance agent, is in business for herself working through Lincoln Heritage in Emporia.
Brown was in the healthcare field working as an RN and contract nurse when she decided she wanted to do something else with her life. Selling life insurance was not something she had considered, but it hit her one day that it might be exactly what she wanted to do. It was a chance for her to be in business for herself.
“Change brings about fear,” she said. “You don’t know what is coming.”
What came is a new venture that allowed Brown to go into business for herself. She said she was excited about the prospect of helping people through protecting them with life insurance policies and her new job got her excited when she started and she is still excited about selling life insurance today.
Brown was invited by Carey to speak at the Young Adult Summit. Last week’s Adult Youth Summit was the first of what Carey plans to be a series to teach not only young adults, but all who attend to learn how to budget and save money.