For the past few years, small businesses and entrepreneurs have made gains in wealth-building resources and creating new opportunities at a rapid clip. Along the way, many young, diverse, and imaginative people have broken barriers to erase decades of restricted access to economic progress. As more and more money-minded individuals want to build meaningful relationships with women of color, as well as the LGBTQ+, Black, and Hispanic community, supporting minority-owned businesses is no longer a trend; it’s a lifestyle.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, due to the significant difference in wealth between African-Americans and others in the country, those who support Black businesses can greatly increase the flow of wealth into the communities. As a world-traveled rapper and financial literacy advocate, Mickey Factz is someone who is fully invested in the future of his people. Following his viral Funkmaster Flex freestyle in 2018, the Bronx MC was pushed into the spotlight as a “dollars and sense” guy, and has fought against the persistent racial wealth gap in America by investing wholly into his (and his wife’s) entrepreneurial spirit.
Mickey’s growth as an entrepreneur was rooted in the education given to him by his father, and the drive to make moves and enrich those within his circle. In the latest chapter of Financial Facts, a four-part weekly series offering advice around various money matters, Mickey shares personal anecdotes on how entrepreneurship helped him to become more budgetarily sound.
Complex: Can you speak about the importance of being an entrepreneur these days? Also, share some insight on any lessons and obstacles that you’ve overcome to get to this point in your financial literacy journey.
Mickey Factz: Marriage and being a father were the reasons why I became focused on my financial literacy. I wanted my wife to pursue her passion, which was writing, and I didn’t want her to work. Once I removed her from a 401k plan, health insurance, and whatever benefits she was getting from her job, I had to get everything on point for us. I bought a whiteboard and outlined all that was needed to continue on as entrepreneurs.
It’s possible to be an entrepreneur with the knowledge of financial literacy and put money into different places that work for you. I retired my wife at 30 and am looking to do the same myself in the next few years. It can be done if you treat every dollar like a soldier. The obstacles become hard when you don’t move like a general with your money. Each dollar has to go to work to make more money in some way, shape, or form.
Yes, you’re going to lose money along the way, just like you would in the army, but you’re also going to have soldiers that will bring home the Congressional Medal of Honey because of how much money they’re getting for you. As an independent artist, as an entrepreneur, I came to the realization that I want to make sure that my family, my son, and myself are safe and secure—and don’t need or want for anything.
What tools have you adopted as an independent contractor that help keep your books organized?
MF: My bookkeeping is here all on my phone. I use Notes, and I put down all the money that is going in and out of the house, and list it as what needs to be paid and what needs to be saved. Everything is in there, but some people might not be able to do it on their own. So, there are a whole bunch of apps that help track where their money is going and how it is coming in.
There’s QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Truebill, and CloudBooks, for starters. I just do everything in my Notes, but I know every dollar that’s coming in and out of my house. I also check my bank app for the withdrawals coming in and my credit cards to make sure nobody is hacking into my account. Being consistent and constant is key, especially when looking at your money. If you’re able to provide top-tier service with your craft then you’ll also have the set-up to make sure your time is not wasted and fully compensated.
I. Count Your Losses:
Have realistic expectations about being an entrepreneur when starting out. You’re probably going to lose money in your first year.
II. There Are No Days Off:
The second thing to understand is that being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. A lot of times, you’re going to be working for free until you get paid. And when I say free, I mean your product has to prove your worth and to do so, you’ll spend a lot of money.
III. Spend Money Wisely To Make Money:
Spending money to make money is imperative. You’ve got to pay dues, pay for marketing, pay for social media, and definitely pay for promotion. Whatever it is that you’re doing, you got to put people on to what it is so it can get out into the world. If you’re a clothing designer, write off costs to give items to influencers, which will boost your bottom line. If you’re a musician, offer special incentives that will get people to say, “Yo, I gotta get to that event before anyone else,” and you’ll have to spend money to do so.
IV. Sacrifice Is A Worthy Sacrifice:
Being an entrepreneur is a sacrifice of so many things, man. You’re giving up a lot. You’re letting go of inactivity in order to gain knowledge on how to sustain a living. It’s important to remove all other distractions to go after the bag!
V. Always Have Couch Money:
Most of us were taught while growing up to go after traditional roles—a doctor, lawyer, or a carpenter. Today’s entrepreneur knows and wants to be their own boss and to figure out how to do that, one must think about their future constantly. You have to think about having a full cushion of money in the event anything happens to you or a loved one.
Check back next week for the final chapter of Financial Facts, where Mickey breaks down the power of investing. In the meantime, you can revisit part one and part two.