A lot can go wrong when you start a new venture so you want as many things queued up for success as possible. This is particularly true regarding your financial situation, whether you will be bootstrapping or looking for funding. As CEO of Credible, a marketplace for student loan refinancing which was founded in 2012 and recently secured $2.7 million in seed round financing, Stephen Dash has some ideas on how to get your money in order before taking a big leap as an entrepreneur. Here are a few simple financial moves he says can bolster your chances of success.
1. Refinance your student loans.
Most people don't even know doing so is an option because up until a couple of years ago it wasn't. Today, however, a slew of options exist for getting a lower interest rate or consolidating several loans into one. The government charges around 7 percent for its federal loans and private lenders assign fees based upon risk. Once you've earned a degree--and likely taken employment somewhere--you become less of a credit risk. That means other lenders can offer you a lower rate, lower monthly payments and more flexible terms. "The average person who graduates has around $30,000 in student loans," he says. "That can be a significant drag on one's monthly expenses."
2. Renegotiate your credit card APR.
Call your credit card provider and ask for a lower rate. If you have a good payment history you can threaten to take your debt to another company which will charge zero or low interest for a year or more. And while you're at it, ask for a higher credit limit--left untouched it can raise your credit score.
3. Lock in your housing situation.
In other words, get a lease or buy a house. Doing so may be more difficult once you strike out as an entrepreneur because a lenders and landlords like people with steady jobs. And of course, if you can find somewhere to live for free, definitely do it if you can.
"All of these strategies are really about minimizing monthly cash outflows and maximizing one's monthly available cash flow," he says.