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I’m sure we’ve all heard of the immigrant story. How a family of immigrants come from another country, all live in a one bedroom apartment, get menial jobs, save, open a business of their own, all of them work hard while continuing to scrimp… etc, etc.

As native Americans (I mean those of us born here, not the indigenous variety) we are so used to having all the nice things in life and in most cases, not willing to sacrifice to get ahead.

You probably already know where I’m going with this.

What’s your immigrant story? Unless you have a spouse who makes a ton of money and you can afford to just experiment with your business concepts and still live the good life, you should be seriously contemplating sacrificing to get where you want.

Do you own a house you can barely pay the mortgage on? You need to sell it and rent a place that you’re seriously uncomfortable living in, but it’ll do. Put the money you got from the sale of your home in a savings account for emergencies. Don’t tie up capital on another home before getting to the point in your life where your business can support you comfortably. I once lived in a 2 bedroom apartment where my study was situated in my daughter’s walk in closet. Wasn’t anything to be proud of, but it worked fine.

Do you have two car payments every month? You need to sell both of them and buy two beater cars with cash so you don’t have the payments. Used cars now-a-days are very reliable. You’ll be fine. I own a 1994 Lexus LS400 for which I paid cash and it’s VERY nice to drive still and the best part is… no car payments!

Do you have a gym membership? Cancel it and do push ups in your one bedroom apartment.

Do you have two cell phones costing you more than $60 a month. Cancel it. Get two Virgin mobile accounts that only require you to use $6 a month each for each phone and stop using your cell phones for lengthy conversations.

Wear your shoes until you get holes in them. Have them repaired if possible. Ladies, you only need three pairs of shoes. One black, one brown and some tennis shoes. Men, two pairs. One black or brown casual and one pair of tennis shoes. (I don’t even own the tennis shoe and I just replaced my four year old brown casuals because my toes were finally visible.)

I wear the same jacket I bought… uh, well, I can’t remember when I bought, it’s so old.

Supercuts, not Beverly Hill’s Hair Studio. (Okay, I can’t get my wife to abide by this one, but it’s worth a try.)

Walmart for just about everything you can’t get at Costco. Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure you can’t get cooties from the other shoppers at Walmart.

As I type this, my four year old pair of glasses are patched together with electrical tape. Can’t find it within me to replace them yet. (This was the seed for my post a few days ago about eyeglass sales. Still haven’t gotten around to selling the kidney to afford buying a new pair. Geesh! You’d think they were made of gold.)

Cheapest broadband you can find. In my area, that’s DSL. Yes, you can get dialup but if your business depends on the internet, this isn’t something you can afford to compromise on.

Credit cards are evil. I’ll say this again, credit cards are evil. Have one and only for travelling. All other purchases should be done with your debit card. This is the one thing that will enslave you to poverty status for the rest of your miserable life. I actually think they should be outlawed or at least only available to 21+ year olds.

As austere as the above measures seem, they still pale in comparison to what many immigrants do when they get here to survive and get ahead.

If you aren’t rich already for whatever reason, and you’re trying to grow a successfull business, you OWE it to yourself to create your own immigrant story. One that will make people cringe when you tell it around the pool of your gorgeous custom built home (for which you paid cash) 10 years from now.

There’s another name for it. Live below your means and your means will grow exponentially. I mean WAY below your means. Your goal should be to live 50% below what you are bringing in a year. This gives you plenty of room to nurture and succeed at your own business.

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