(on the set of Shark Tank: Los Angeles, September 2013)
When I went on Shark Tank back in 2013 my finances were a mess; too many business loans, too much overhead, and our gross revenues were actually going down!
I started reading all the financial fitness books written by Dave Ramsey and Orrin Woodward, and I simplified my life. In a few short years I paid off over $300K in debt, put $30,000 in a college fund for my daughters, and I sold Balloon Distractions for a modest profit.
I joined Tampa Bay Solar while I still had an income from Balloon Distractions, and it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Instead of running an entire business (which I suck at) I could just focus on selling solar deals and developing a team.
When I finally sold BD it was with a sense of relief, I was closing the door on a chapter in my life that had great memories, but was also financially stressful.
In the last few years I’ve been teaching a Debt Free / Financial Management class at my church, and the most recent course was interrupted by the current Covid19 crisis.
Since my income is from sales commissions (on electric solar as well as solar pool heaters) I was worried about how I would weather the next few months. I’m a single Dad, no spouse to help me out here… and when I looked at my expenses I realized that I could cover all my costs until JUNE, even if I sold nothing until then!
I live on $3,000 per month. As my income from solar increased I kept my EXPENSES level and continued to pay down my debt.
I still live in the same 1900 square foot home that I bought back in 2003. I drive a used Chevy Volt…. charged by the solar on my roof. I spend very little on energy, and I paid off my solar array last year.
When my HVAC needed replacement a few months ago I paid the $7,700 cost with cash.
As Covid19 hit and we went into quarantine Tampa Bay Solar started advertising for pool heaters, since everyone is home.
I’ve been closing pool heater deals consistently over the last few weeks. Covid19 decreased my income a little bit, but my expenses are still below my income, even during this current lockdown.
I hope Covid19 is a wake-up call for all the folks living “high on the hog” at the limits of their income. Live modest; no one is impressed by a leased luxury car or a home with a mortgage that you can barely cover.
Perhaps this crisis is also a wake up call for people who are working in low skill / low wage / non-essential jobs. Maybe this is the time to go to trade school, learn sales, learn some type of skill that will increase your income!
I’ll be looking to hire in a few months… if you have a talent for sales maybe that is a way to increase your income.
When this crisis is over and solar sales pick up again my main focus is paying off my home, and getting to a place where I can live on LESS than $1,500 a month.
Stay safe out there!
April 8, 2020