Working with heart centered entrepreneurs and service based business owners, I’ve heard a lot of gut-wrenching stories. Most begin or end with debt. Whether you are in debt $10K or $70K isn’t important, what is important is how you resolve that debt and how quickly you can get yourself out from under it.
I’ve been $70K in debt (not including mortgage or car) three times in my life. I’m not proud of that, but it does make me uniquely qualified to share with you specific strategies that work to resolve the debt. The speed at which you resolve your debt is far less dependent on how much you owe than it is on how fast you act and how focused you are on getting out of debt.
Here are 7 Simple Steps to Getting Out of Debt:
#1 Get a Job
This is not the time to be picky. You need income (or extra income) coming in. Yes, I know you want to follow your bliss, and it will make you money, one day, that day may be very far off. In the meantime, you need to be smart, resourceful and take care of basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing and paying off any debts you have accumulated. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#2 Reduce Expenses
Okay, so you aren’t in dire straits, but things are feeling a bit tight. Reduce expenses. Take a hard look at where your money goes each day, week, and month. Slash what isn’t essential so you can pay down, and ultimately off, your debt. I know you may not like to cook and prefer to eat out, get over it. (I had to.) I know you may have a weekly TJ Maxx habit, kill that habit before it kills you. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#3 Sell What You Can
Get creative. With Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, and Craigslist (I know they usually want it for free), there are endless ways to sell things to make money. While you may not have anything, you might well if you look hard enough. I’ve auctioned things on Ebay effectively and sometimes not so effectively. I’ve used Craigslist. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#4 Pawn It
Yes, it is expensive, but it is a way to leverage what you have and aren’t willing to part with for immediate cash. What interest rates are you paying on those credit cards? I’ve done this too. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#5 Negotiate with Your Creditors
Your creditors, even the large companies, don’t want you to go belly up. It is in their best interest to negotiate either interest rates on what you owe, or a settlement. Don’t be afraid to ask, you’ve got nothing to lose. Be bold, make sure you are speaking with the person who has the authority and document every conversation. (This works with doctors and hospitals too if you have high medical expenses.) I talked with my credit card companies and got my rates reduced, it made paying it off, a lot faster. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#6 Crowd Fund It
Go on just about any crowd funding source and you’ll see stories of individuals and families who are raising monies to pay down their debt or pursue their big dream (btw, you won’t know which unless you believe everything you read.) The more compelling your story, the more likely you are to attract donations. Don’t lie, you will be found out. Do what it takes to get out of debt.
#7 Declare Bankruptcy
I’ve never done this, I don’t advocate it. I believe that if you got yourself into this mess (and, be honest, you did, even if it was because you loaned a family member money, or have been through an accident and didn’t have insurance) and you are responsible for getting yourself out. You may not agree, that’s okay! Do what it takes to get out of debt.
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention any one of the dozen or more credit counseling agencies. I’ve never used one and most, not all, can be pretty unscrupulous and cost you more in the big picture, don’t be fooled. I did have a conversation with one, once.
The fastest way out of debt is to scrutinize how you are working and living. While this post is focused on personal debt. I’ve got one coming up that will focus on business debt and how you can tame that monster too. While some of the same strategies apply, there are more to look at.
COMMENT BELOW on strategies you’ve used, what’s worked, what hasn’t. Are you willing to reveal your truth?