You might be an entrepreneur if…you pay all your bills on the last possible day you can, and you know all those dates by heart for each bill. Here’s a little test, just off the top of my head:
Rent, due on the 1st of each month, but the landlord is pretty lenient and I can usually get away with no paying until…you know, I better not give too much detail on some of these.
Health insurance, due on the 1st, but there’s something of a grace period that goes through the end of the month. However, if it’s not in by the 1st of the next month it can get automatically shut off and then the process of getting it reinstated is kind of a pain. Trust me, I know. So we usually mail that payment in before the end of each month. As long as we get it in the mail by the last day of the month we’ve always been ok.
Two loan payments are due on the 1st, and another is due on the 18th. These can go as far as 60 days past due, but the penalties are fairly expensive, and once they’re 30 days overdue my banker starts paying me visits, which is fine because he’s a nice enough guy, but who knows, he might break my knees next time.
The Amex card is due on the 18th, or is it 19th? Well, somewhere in there. Man, they’re sticklers. If you don’t have that thing paid off within 10-15 days they turn your card off until you pay the balance, and it doesn’t take too long before they threaten to close your account.
Anyway, there are a few examples. I’m probably not as knowledgeable about some of the smaller items.
Those who have dealt with cash flow issues for an extended period of time know exactly how I feel. If you find yourself thinking “Why doesn’t he just pay his bills on time?” then you’re probably not what I’d call an entrepreneur.
Speaking of cash flow, I was watching a documentary on the creation of the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, and they were talking about how in the early days they weren’t bringing in enough money and the head guy had to approach the employees and tell them they were shutting down because they didn’t have enough money to make payroll. The employees said they weren’t going to let it fail, and they’d keep working as long as it took to make the place work, payroll or not.
Admirable and generous of the employees to do that, but my first thought was “They’re going to miss one payroll and that’s reason enough to close the whole place down? C’mon, I know of companies that went 9 months without making payroll and they still kept employees on staff and kept the doors open.” If I had closed my doors the first time I was late on payroll I would have been out of business 3 months into this venture. Since then I’ve been late on payroll a lot, but the company is still here. For a few months once I was the only employee and I wasn’t getting paid, but the company is still here, and we’re still getting work done, making money, and making progress. That’s why I say failure is a choice, and businesses don’t go out of business because they don’t have any money, they go out of business because the owners quit. It’s stressful, but it hasn’t become so stressful as to make me quit. But if I didn’t track when bills were due then it’d become quite a bit more stressful, and I’m not sure how much knee-breaking I could handle.