S2E7: Entrepreneurship 101

S2E7: Entrepreneurship 101


Starting up the start-up and joining the class of entrepreneur is scary, risky, tough, invigorating, and a financial minefield. In this episode, we will talk entrepreneurship 101, break down some stereotypes, and build the entrepreneurship how-to all creative minds have dreamed of. Get ready for some know-how, tips, tricks, and truths coming at you from our resident entrepreneur host, Laquita Ann, and guest expert Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez of Zero Based Budget!

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

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View Transcript

Mary: (00:44)
Hi money people and welcome back to Your World, Your Money. This week, we're so excited to start a new mini-series on entrepreneurship. And today I have our globe-trotting entrepreneur co-host back again with us, LaQuita Ann, hi!

Ann: (01:00)
I'm excited to be back. I missed you. This is so awesome. And I'm super excited, especially for the topics. So yes, I'm ready.

Mary: (01:26)
Yes, we are so ready to be here today. And today, for all of our listeners, we have an amazing guest. She's an entrepreneur, a lawyer, a money expert. You name it. She is it. Our lady, Cindy Zuniga-Sanchez of Zero Based Budget with us to give you an entrepreneurship 101 session. For all of our listeners and for this host over here. Hi guys, I'm with you in this boat who are starting our own entrepreneurship journey, or considering that in the near future. Go ahead and grab your coffee. Maybe it's a tea. Maybe it's a matcha. We love the caffeine, no discrimination on the caffeine here and settle in. For all of our listeners who are note-takers. Remember on our podcast website, each episode has a downloadable one-page with the highlights and key points. So we'll be taking the notes for you. And all of these will be from the episode pre-made and ready for you to download. Maybe you will print it, tape it to your fridge, use it for motivation, read it to yourself every night before you go to bed, folded into an origami duck, you know what? Do you. Maybe tape the origami duck on the fridge, live it, we're here for it.

Ann: (02:36)
I love it. And I especially love our guest today. Okay. Folks, I was legit impressed when I saw this woman's bio. Cindy is going to be helping us out today, talking about all things entrepreneurship, which is amazing. She is a founder of Zero Base Budget Coaching, LLC. And can I say that name just pops. The name alone - you're going to have to tell us about that later, Cindy, how you came up with it, but it's amazing. And not only is she the founder of Zero Base Budget Coaching, but she went to law school. And after graduating law school in 2015, with $215,000 of debt, Cindy took control of her money by immersing herself in the world of personal finance. So in 2018, she launched Zero Based Budget to document her debt payoff journey. Yes, she paid her debt. Yes, go Cindy. And she tried to simplify personal finance concepts. So after recognizing through her platform, people's unique needs and goals, she founded her business where she offers personal finance coaching services, which most of us need. And she speaks to audiences, small and large, about budgeting, saving, investing, and more. And if that wasn't enough, Cindy also practices law full-time as a commercial litigator at Venable LLP. She's a graduate of Stony Brook University and obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the Benjamin and Cardoso school of law. And she was born, raised, and resides in the Bronx, New York. I'm excited on all levels. So it is nice to have you with us today, Cindy.

Cindy: (04:31)
Oh, thank you so much. I'm so excited for this.

Mary: (04:34)
So Cindy, let's get just started with you. So I'm happy you're here in New York with me, everybody listening is like obvious. They know I'm not a New Yorker, but like, hi, I'm a New Yorker now. So like everybody gets over it. So Cindy, tell us about yourself. Tell us about Zero Based Budget. Maybe tell us a little bit about the name and how did this entrepreneurship journey start for you? How did all of that get into being?

Cindy: (04:57)
Yeah, sure. First of all, thank you so much for inviting me. What an honor. I am Cindy, the founder of Zero Based Budget Coaching. I was born and raised in the Bronx New York City. And I'm the proud daughter of immigrants. My mother and father immigrated here from Latin America in the early 1970s. And I have a very typical daughter of immigrant story, my family and I, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. I lived in that apartment, my whole life. My parents still live there. I have two older sisters and, you know, I say all that because financial literacy was not something I necessarily grew up with. My parents didn't have those kinds of money conversations. The money conversations really revolved around just ensuring there's enough to eat. That there's enough to pay for our education. And that's really what my parents honed in on is education, education, education, and of course our basic needs.

Cindy: (05:54)
And so I attended Stony Brook University on a full scholarship actually and graduated then with only about, I say probably $10,000 or $11,000. And I say only because what was waiting for me on the other side after law school was a lot more than that. So I did go to law school and after law school, between my student loans and some credit card debt, I had accumulated about $215,000 of debt. When I share that number, it still makes me a little sick. Um, but it's the reality, you know, I didn't have, unfortunately, you know, my parents weren't able to help me with my law school expenses. You know, I had to rely on loans. That's just the reality. And so when I graduated from law school, it was really difficult just having to grapple with the fact that here I am with a doctorate degree, I'm a lawyer now, but I don't know the first thing about money.

Cindy: (06:52)
I just don't, I don't know how to properly budget. I don't know the first thing about investing. I don't know how the heck I'm going to pay off this debt. So what do I do? So I went where everyone goes the internet like I Googled, I literally Googled how do I get out of debt? And that way of finding myself, my money story, my money journey. That's what really fueled my passion for starting Zero Based Budget. I started my business because I wanted to specifically cater to women, even more specifically, women of color, women that come from communities like mine, underrepresented communities that have just been very much overlooked by the financial services industry, and find a way to reach that community, find a way to reach my community. And I started my business because I wanted to share what I was learning. I was learning so much about money. I was learning so much about effective debt payoff strategies and investing and how to build great credit and all of these different topics. And I wanted to share that. So, you know, that's a little bit about me and kind of like the why I really started my business as far as how I came up with a name Zero Based Budget, is actually a budgeting method that I used and still use to keep track of my money and I can go into it further, but it's essentially an every dollar budget where you account for every single dollar that you bring in. So you have a plan for that money. So that's where that term comes from. But yeah, that's a little bit about me, how I started and how it got its name.

Ann: (08:32)
I absolutely love that story. I especially love that you shared that you didn't necessarily grow up in a household where you knew so much about financial literacy because I think that's the story of a lot of people and they can't figure out how to take that next step like you did. Of course, I think $215,000 in debt is just a nice motivator to really get into gear. I can imagine you like frantically typing how to get out of debt. But I really curious as well, just from an entrepreneurship standpoint, because it is so difficult starting businesses. Can you just give our listeners a little bit of background on how you were able to start that business in the early stages?

Cindy: (09:18)
Yeah. So my business really started on social media. I started actually not a lot of people know this, but uh, some of my followers do, I started an anonymous Instagram account in January 2018. That was called @zerobasedbudget. And I had it public, public as in people could follow my page for a couple of months. And then I got like probably like a thousand followers. And then I was like, okay, I'm gonna put my page on private. I don't want people to follow me. I didn't want people to follow me because I was actually revealing my real numbers. I was revealing how much I was putting towards debt, how much debt I had. So it's funny because I didn't start this entrepreneur journey all in on faith that this was going to become a huge business. On the contrary, I started sort of still with a little bit of shame. I didn't want my family and friends to know. The only person that knew about my page was my husband, who was my then-boyfriend. And it wasn't until a trip to Europe, solo trip that I took to Copenhagen and Malta in the summer of 2018 that I decided, you know what, I'm going to do this. Like I I'm seeing, you know, on my private Instagram page, uh, you know, the, the one where my family and friends were following me, I was kind of hinting at these topics of money and putting things like on my stories and people were asking me questions.

Cindy: (10:46)
People wanted this information. My family and friends, they were just intrigued by all of this. And I was like, you know what, why not? I'm going to just open up the page. I'm going to make it public. That's just go from there. And, my initial logo wasn't even a logo. It was like something that I, I don't even know how I put it together. It was like a leaf and didn't even have anything to do with money. It was like a green little leaf and Navy blue. Navy blue is my favorite color. And I was like, okay, green money. I think that makes sense. That's how I started. I had zero, absolute zero experience with graphic design, technology. That's not my world. I'm an attorney. I read and write like that is my craft. And so I don't think it was traditional at all because I didn't have the intention to start this business, but I embraced it when I saw that this was something that could really become something great.

Cindy: (11:41)
And so when I opened up my page, suddenly I was getting a lot of growth. A lot of people were just attracted to this regular girl from New York City that was just talking about money and that she was in like $180,000 of debt. At that point, I had already started like chipping away at the debt and stuff. And I think that my story resonated with people because I didn't try to make this initially something that like, pay me, pay me, pay me. This was really something like, I want to deliver value to my audience first. And that's where I really started. And then in the fall of that year was when I started coaching and that's when then I decided, okay, I need to make this a business. And so I am a commercial litigation attorney. I have experience with corporate law, of course. And so that's when I decided to form my LLC in the very beginning of 2019. So really 2018 was my year of being anonymous on Instagram, having a private account, making it public, gaining some followers and then just kind of going from there. There was a ton of trial and error. Oh my goodness. So much trial and error. So many things that didn't work. So many things that, that did, you know, but I was just kind of discovering that along the journey.

Ann: (13:05)
I think that's pretty amazing. One of the things that I think is super amazing that I think probably a people out there are thinking about is when you start a business, you don't always go all in like the fact that you have a full-time job and you have this, how do you balance it? Because a lot of people are working full-time jobs, but they have dreams of opening a business or being an entrepreneur. So how, how are you able to balance?

Cindy: (13:30)
Yeah. You know, you have to start small. I mean, nobody wants to hear that, right? You want to go big or go home, but that's not how I started. I started small. I started when I officially launched my coaching business. So now I do a lot more than just individual coaching. I've done group coachings. I do workshops. I do classes. I do speaking engagements, obviously, with my social media par, I do sponsorships. I do affiliates, right? So there's a lot of different aspects of my business, but the way that I started, it started purely as coaching people, just one-on-one coaching. And when I first started, I started with three clients. I had three clients. Okay. In my first month of business, I had three people. I was ecstatic. I was like, oh my goodness. I can't believe this. This is amazing. Like, I have three people that want me to coach them.

Cindy: (14:27)
But I started with that. I did like a, I think it was a two-hour session at a coffee shop in Harlem. In-person. This was in person. Okay. And I would take a little bit of time on a Saturday afternoon and we would meet, I would go through things with them, give them a plan, talk through some topics that they were interested in. And then they went about their day. So I did start with that. And now I'm in a place where I have had to actually put a pause on the individual coaching part of my business because the demand just became a little too much. And that is something to your point about how do you balance it? You need to know when certain things are not working too well. And that's actually a realization that I had and that I don't know that I've actually shared it in this way, but I had that realization last year where I was like, I need to find a way to service more people because there's a huge need for this information that I can't limit myself to just a couple of people a month.

Cindy: (15:29)
And so how do I do that? And that's when I started really thinking about scale. And I think that look, I mean, it's no secret lawyers are beyond busy when people say, Oh, like, you know, how do you do what your nine to five? I'm like, I don't have a nine to five. I have a 6:00 AM to 12:00 AM. Like I have a full-blown career where every minute really I need to be ready for that. Something could happen. You know, there could be an expedited court hearing and there's work that needs to get done for that. There is a client that needs something. So I think that what I've done to balance, it really is just building flexibility. Know my limits, be honest with myself, but actually also have transparency with my job as well. So my job does know that I have this like social media influencer type of side to me and that I've also have this business that I've grown and become passionate about. So there's a lot I can go on for a whole hour just about that topic of balancing your job with your business. But I think the first thing is really just to be honest with yourself and know your limits, know your boundaries.

Mary: (16:45)
Something that you had mentioned a little bit before that I'd love to dive a little bit more into, and Ann I'd love to also hear your thoughts on this as well. Cause you're both entrepreneurs. But when people are really starting out, you mentioned that there was a little bit of shame and like you had all these emotions that were kind of battling each other for entrepreneurs that are starting out, or maybe that are still dreaming of that job or that company that they want to create. How can they really look at all those battling emotions and work through them, especially with the influence of maybe their friends or family that aren't always supportive, because I know that when a lot of young entrepreneurs will tell their parents, their parents are like, no, no, no, you need that nine to five? Like, I don't want you, that's silly. Like maybe don't go do that. Maybe they're a little bit more risk-averse. So I'd love to post that to both of you and just say, tell us how you can work through those because they're scary. And they are a lot for a lot of young entrepreneurs.

Cindy: (17:40)
Yeah. It's funny because I've had people that are like, but how do you make money? It's like, when it comes to my business, it's like, uh, I have different streams of income for my business. Sometimes people are just like, I feel like that's something very common that entrepreneurs face is the whole like, yeah. I mean, you're in business for profit. You know, you're going to have different ways, creative ways of making money. And I just think it's funny when certain family members or friends will be like, hh, but like, but how are you making the money? It's like, I mean, do you want to look at my business plan? All right, let's take a step back. And that comment that you had made was just like, it really stuck out to me because I've actually had that. So I think that the way that you overcome the fear is that one of the best things I would say is to just write it down, write down your ideas, write down your plan. What are you selling? It's either a product or a service, right? So write it down, write down what you are selling, write down, who is your audience? See when it comes to personal finance, money is one of the very few things that quite actually impacts every single person on this planet. Right? No matter your background, how poor or rich you are, money impacts where you woke up this morning, what clothes you're putting on, what job you go to, what you're eating. So personal finance in theory, my business could be for everyone, right? And I'd like to think that it is, you know, anyone and everyone is welcome. But the reality is that that's just not quite what I am focused on. So having an established audience and the way that I like to think of it, and I know many entrepreneurs do is picture your perfect customer.

Cindy: (19:38)
What does your perfect customer look like? As an example, you know, mine could be, you know, I'd like to think I have a couple of perfect customers, quote, unquote, but mine is someone in their early thirties, living in a city that has, let's say a nine to five job, makes, uh, more than the average American household income as a likely college-educated and is probably facing a lot of debt and needs a way to learn what to do for the next steps. Right? So just paint those customer profiles, if you will. So you need to know what you're selling, who your customer is. And then also will they buy what you are selling, right? Because if they're, we're not going to buy it, I mean, that's the end of the entrepreneurship journey, right? Because you need to make money and this could be the lawyer in me. But I think that the way that you overcome the fear is you have a plan. You need to have a plan, know what you're selling, who you're selling to and will they buy it. And also what is the effort that it's going to take on your part? Because if something is going to take you two weeks to create, and you're barely going to break even with that, well, then you need to also think of your other valuable resource, which is your time, especially if you have a job and you have other obligations, time is an incredibly precious resource. So you also need to be smart about that as well. Uh, so there's so many things to keep in mind, but those are some things that I would, I would encourage people is just to have a plan to overcome. That definitely is something that I had to do.

Ann: (21:19)
I love everything that you just said. And I'm over here dying. When you were talking about the things that sometimes family can say. I just think back to early in my career, even when I was like doing TV stuff and I would have like two lines on TV and my grandmother would be like, but why weren't you the lead? And I'd be like, that's, you know, whatever A-list actor. And she would be like, yeah, whatever, you know, that could have been you. So I think it's also yes, important to have a plan. But the other thing you said that I personally think is really important is your why. Because a lot of entrepreneurs go into this, like I'm going to make a bunch of money, and then it doesn't work. I feel like you can overcome fear. You can overcome most things when you have a very strong "why" of doing something, right? Like then suddenly when you're working like eight days a week, which is yes, I have an extra day in my week. I don't know how I manage it. I think about my "why" and the people that I'm helping. And then that fuels me to keep moving forward. Even if I'm, if I don't know necessarily how or what the next step is. So I think that's very important. And then the other thing is, I think it is important whom you surround yourself with because we like to think, even if you're a solopreneur, there's no one on earth that makes it alone. I don't care if it's your boyfriend, your husband, your friend, like somebody always helps you. So it is important not to let all of these like naysayers coming over here, like on this side, they're like, well, girl, you know, that's not a good idea.

Ann: (22:50)
Well, nobody's going to buy it. And then you have all of these people. You're like, maybe they're right. So I think back to my grandmother, she always said to me, this phrase never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. And, and I was like, at first I was like, what? And I, and I'm not saying don't tell anybody anything, but I have over the years as an entrepreneur, I don't say everything all the time. Right. Even with some people in my family, like when I say something it's already launching and they're like, great because I don't want people always to get into my ears at every single stage of whatever I'm doing as an entrepreneur. So you pick those moments and you pick people to share with, to make sure that you're picking people also to share with that sometimes are, are like, yes, go do it. It's hard enough, right. To out here alone, then to have people like, no, don't do it. Stay back here with me.

Cindy: (23:46)
People always have something to say, that's for sure.

Ann: (23:47)
Yes. Always.

Mary: (23:49)
I actually had to stay on mute because you two are just absolutely killing me. I have laughed so hard. I might have broken the mic if it were on. Oh my God, I'm obsessed with this. So I love how both of you have highlighted the actual tangibles that you can do to kind of break down those fears and those emotions and something that I think, and I hope a lot of our listeners are thinking about right now is their specific skillset and their specific background and how that will inform on their entrepreneurship journey. So for both of you, it's been very integral to what you do. So being aware that this path is different for absolutely everyone, what are some of the particular advantages or disadvantages that you would highlight or that you could think of that minorities might face, whether it's financially or logistically or institutionally. And is there anything that can be done or is it just like be fearless and go break it and then you can change it? How do we do?

Cindy: (24:50)
Yeah, look, I would love to say that if you identify as black, indigenous person of color or whatever, it may be a woman that you could just storm into any room and take all the business. But girl, that is not how the world works. We just be real. Okay. It's hard. It is really hard. I mean, let's just be honest, you know, there are disparities, massive disparities when it comes to opportunities when it comes to resources to start a business. And I think that's probably where I'll start is the financial aspect. There are barriers to launching your own business when even at the smallest level when you need to invest maybe a couple of thousand dollars into whatever you're starting. I mean, heck for a lot of business checking accounts, you need to have a minimum of like $2,000 to even open up the account.

Cindy: (25:58)
I think people need to be mindful of these things. And unfortunately, it is something that can prevent you from going all in. So I think firstly, you know, when, when we talk about the finances, that is something that blocks people and is something to be mindful of. But I think a larger thing is depending on what kind of business you're looking to get into, especially if it is a service-based business in that case, you're really looking to pitch yourself. Sometimes you might think so, I'm going to actually, I'm going to just do specifics, right? I'm going to talk about my industry, which is a personal finance industry. Look, the personal finance industry is traditionally very white, very male, very rich. That's just what it is. And so you're going to have writers, bloggers, podcasters want to invite people that look like them or sound like them or have a life experience like them.

Cindy: (26:57)
And so what you're creating then is this industry that all of a sudden is very disconnected from millions. And so I think that a barrier in, for example, in my case is when the media outlets just invite the same old speakers over and over again, with a narrow perspective. Here's how you break through that. And this I've shared before, for me, in my case, people asked me, well, Cindy, how did you land good morning America or Pix 11, which is a new station here in New York City or the Rachel Ray Show, black women. That's how I got those opportunities, black women in the personal finance industry that I formed friendships with, decided to extend their hand and say, hey, you liked what I had to do. Let me tell you about this other girl, this Latina chick from the Bronx, that is how you breakthrough.

Cindy: (27:55)
And so when you think about this as not just your own journey, but you think about those around you and how you can create opportunities for others. That is when you start cracking through that is when you're able to really grow your business. So the reason why I bring that up is to network. Network with people in whatever industry you're in or you're looking to get into. Ask questions, be genuine, of course, be respectful of their time. Just connect with people because of the opportunities that have been given to me. Now, when I get these opportunities, I recommend the next wave of personal finance influencers or speakers or whatever. It may be for opportunities that come across my desk. So I think that those are some of the things just to keep in mind is that this journey is hard and you're going to have to hustle harder. You are going to have to hustle harder, but that's okay because it makes us so much rewarding. Like you were saying, you know, you keep your "why" in mind and that's what fuels you.

Ann: (29:03)
Yeah. I love it. I think it's so important to network. The other thing that I've noticed just in my experience. So my audience are high-level business leaders, public figures, and corporations. And let's just say most of the high-level business leaders in this world are not black women. So one of the things that I have found in my experience has been also leveling up your game and your talent and what you do, right? Because yes, it may be hard to break in, but I found when you go the extra mile, even in the beginning with me and my business has been built mainly on referrals, right. Because I gave above and beyond what people even expected. So sometimes we look at ourselves, right? And we say, okay, how can I educate myself more? How can I become a little bit better? So that those three clients that you say that you started off with, for example, they become six, they become nine, they become 12 just because you delivered in such a big way.

Ann: (30:04)
So sometimes I feel like we're so focused on the big audience that we don't nurture the small audience. Right. And that's how we get bigger. So making sure if you just have one person who believes in you, right? One person, you have your first client, make sure that you are just amazing that you give them value, right. That you help. Then that starts to grow from there. And people will start to refer you. I mean, I've had people literally that started off like, hmm, what are you going to tell me? Are you any good? They've become friends of mine, referring people left and right to me. So do not get discouraged. And don't be afraid to just sometimes look at yourself and how you can level up your skills.

Cindy: (30:46)
Absolutely. You know, and I love that you brought that up because when people ask me, so Cindy, tell us about how your business grew. That is it, exactly what you just said, it's referrals. And so what I recommend to everyone is be excellent in all that you do, do not strive to deliver good customer service or a good product or a good, no, no, no. Be excellent because that is, what's going to get you the next client. That's, what's going to get you the next opportunity. You know, I started with three clients and they referred their friends. And then I had some of those clients that refer to coworkers, parents. I had one client that referred. She was like, you know what? My mom could use this actually. Okay. So how about we hook that up, Cindy. All right. And so when you're excellent in whatever you do and to whomever you deliver that to, they're going to, and look, if you believe in your product, if you're selling something good, then go all in. Right. And they are going to help grow your business too. So don't just think about it as, what am I going to do? I need to pitch to 5,000 people. No, no, no. Just how can I deliver the best service to this specific person that's in front of me right now.

Ann: (32:05)
I love all of that. And one quick mindset shift that I would just want to share with everyone. That's helped me a lot is sometimes when you get someone who maybe is a little bit of a naysayer for me like I start welcoming that now I don't get mad. I'm not like, why did you say that? Why do you think that I'm like, oh cool, I'm going to show up in a big way? And it just fuels me just that little mindset shift of like, okay, I'm just going to do a great job. I'm going to be excellent. Like you said so that it keeps encouraging me to push forward. No matter what anyone says or thinks. Right. I love that you said that, excellence, folks.

Mary: (32:45)
I know what's going to be highlighted and underlined on our worksheet after this episode, which is going to be really, really bold, right. Smack in the middle of the page. I want to take a little bit of time while we can to talk about the real logistics of it. So we've been talking about like the emotive side of it and the motivation side of it. I'd also love to just touch on how do you logistically get started. So Cindy, you have like an incredible background to get started in this and, and your journey as well. Like how would somebody that is starting out there an entrepreneur? How do they look at business bank accounts? How do they know when they need to go find a lawyer? Where can they just basically start? Because I know that one of the biggest barriers, young entrepreneurs face is the overwhelming amount of information that you kind of need to know at the start that you probably won't find out unless you learn it somewhere and you might learn it the hard way.

Cindy: (33:44)
Yeah. The logistics of it can be really challenging. I think that with that, and I'm going to just be perfectly honest here, a big part of what helped is my corporate law background, right? It's just understanding that there are different types of business structures, for example, right? You can go the solopreneur route, or what's called a sole proprietorship. You can do an LLC, you can do a corporation, right? How do you start? Where do you go? And so I think that the first thing would be definitely to look on and I'm more than happy to send you, like for your show, note purposes, creators that focus on entrepreneurs specifically. So I have a really good friend of mine who actually also happens to be one of my sorority sisters, Jannese Torres-Rodriguez. She actually has a podcast of her own called the Yo Quiero Dinero Podcast. And she talks a lot about this, very topic about how to start your businesses. So look for content creators that focus on that, that are really going to help with the logistics. As far as how I did it. Right. I think that I focused one of the main things that I had to focus on was the money behind it because you need money to start your business. And so the first thing I would suggest to anyone that is ready and they're like, okay, I need, my next steps is to, first of all, look at how much it's going to cost you to launch your business. And I think that in my case where it's service-based, what I needed was a good website, right? I needed someone to help create my graphics and logo, but that remember everyone that is not, how I actually started my business.

Cindy: (35:20)
I started my business back in 2018. My business didn't necessarily start when it became an LLC. It started before then, before then is when I already started networking. When I started reaching out to my audience and building. So I would first recommend to have that, but then sort out how much it's going to actually cost to start your business, a website. Like I was saying everything, write it down and then see, how are you going to fund that? What I would not recommend for example is putting it on credit cards, right? Especially like going into debt. You don't want to go into high-interest debt for something like that. There are certain state-funded programs. For example, here in New York, we have the MWBE loans that are extended to, for example, women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs. Look into grants that you can get, right? So first do your research in your own state because there is money available and you can look at what's happened to those resources.

Cindy: (36:18)
Look, heck even a $2,000 loan, $5,000 loan that can really help you get off the ground. So do your research, write out what your expenses would be, look at content creators that talk about specifically like the actual logistics of starting your business. For me, a business checking account was absolutely critical because something that I recommend for really anyone is to try to keep your money separate, right? Keep your personal money personal in your personal accounts, and your business money in your business accounts, just because it is going to help have those boundaries that are necessary sometimes even for legal reasons, you do need to have that. So please be very, very mindful of that. I think that is one of the best practices that I could offer is to do a business checking account, uh, to just keep your money separately.

One thing that I think is really essential that most entrepreneurs don't think about - how are you getting customers? It's great to think like, Oh, I have this idea. These are some ideas that I have on who I want to target, but understand so that you don't then spend the next four years looking for a customer. It's nice. I kind of started like you Cindy. I had customers before I even really had legally a business, but most people don't start that way. So they build it and they're like, if you build it, they'll come, and then they don't come. Right. So like half a marketing plan, understand if you are investing your money, how you plan on making that money back. Right?

Cindy: (37:45)
Right. Yeah. Absolutely.

Mary: (37:48)
There've been so many incredible notes of wisdom in here. I can't even say a word. So it is literally been like these sentences that need to be folded into the origami ducks, put it on your forehead, and look at it every day. People. This has been incredible. So I want to ask one last question here. And we've shared so much already, that is going to go into the notes and has been so essential. And like everybody needs to remember it, but what would be the final notes that you would add to this conversation that you want everybody to remember? Maybe it's, don't forget this thing that I said, or maybe it's, hey, let me add this in here because I haven't had a chance to share it yet. And I think it's so important for people to walk away with this.

Cindy: (38:30)
I think something that could apply to everyone no matter who it is, that's listening. No matter where you are on this journey is go all in. Now, some people say, Oh, well, does that mean that I have to just like pour everything and quit my job? No, no, no, no. But put your heart into it. You know, because people will be able to tell when you're passionate about something when you love something. And I think that when you really put your heart into whatever it is that you're producing, whatever you're creating, people can see through that, keep that in mind. But also keep this in mind for those people that are maybe scared that are hesitant is someone's out there is making money off of your exact idea. Maybe it's not the same product, but generally speaking, someone went ahead and did it and they're doing it. And they're excelling. You know, it could be across the world. It could be, you haven't even heard of them. Right. But someone decides to believe in themselves and say, you know what? Yes, I'm going to go for it. So turn your passion into something that, and you know, people say, Oh, but like, you know, this hustle culture of like, Oh, you have to monetize everything. Well, no, but like, if you are putting your time and energy into something, if what you are creating delivers value to people, then yes, you deserve to be paid for that. Absolutely. Unapologetically. So go for it.