Borrow Credit Cards

How I Used Credit Card Debt to Invest In My Business

Emma Johnson  |  October 27, 2017

Credit card debt is usually something I avoid at all costs. But to grow my business, I decided to take on debt using my business credit card.

I’m usually debt-resistant for all the typical reasons, and that includes credit card debt. Letting your debt get out of your control can not only kill your credit score, but it can also mean you’re paying high interest rates. A pile of mismanaged debt is a sign of poor money management and living beyond your means. So why would I choose to take on debt, right?

The Business Decision

Then two years ago I was at a crossroads.

I had been a full-time freelance writer for a decade, and then I launched a blog that was getting a lot of attention and inspired a new course for my career. I found myself excited about work in a way I hadn’t been in years. What’s more, I saw a business opportunity that had enormous potential — financially, creatively, and in my ability to serve others.

But to grow my new ideas and reach my goals, I needed to invest in my business. I needed to hire consultants and web designers — services that don’t come cheap. At this point, I knew I could continue to work hard and bootstrap my new enterprise as extra money was earned or found. Or … I could get the money now. To launch those ideas now.

To make changes in my career and life at a rate I wanted, I needed to take on debt. So I did.

How I Used my Credit Card

Thanks to a pretty decent credit score of 802, I had a business credit card that offered me 0% interest for one year on any purchases. So I used that card to make charges that equaled about 10% of my income. 

When that deal expired, I transferred the balance to another card at 0% for 12 months, remarkably with no transfer fee. Be sure to read the fine print before opening any credit card or transferring a balance to an existing card.

Motivated By Debt

Though I haven’t yet earned back my investment, I don’t question my decision to take on this debt. Here are four reasons I’m glad I used my credit card to grow my business.

  1. Debt raises the stakes. Without financial skin in the game, my business idea was nothing more than a whim. But now, with a five-figure investment at hand, I have a quantifiable business deal (albeit with myself). 
  2. It holds me accountable. I admit that the debt makes me squirm. But I’m learning to harness that discomfort and recycle it into productivity. I check my Mint app daily and seeing that outstanding debt motivates me to get my butt in gear and keep working toward my goals. 
  3. Business debt supports my evolving self-perception. One of my career goals is to move away from a service-based industry (freelance writing) into a truly entrepreneurial, scalable business. What this means is that I need to make a mental shift in how I see myself – as an entrepreneur. 
  4. There is a reason “It takes money to make money” is a maxim. It’s been true for countless other people. I know it can be true for me, too. 

To help maintain momentum and stay committed to my self-image as an entrepreneur, I remind myself that most smart, successful entrepreneurs seek startup capital, especially at the beginning: venture capital, angel investors, friends and family loans, a bank note, or crowdfunding.

As long as debt is managed, it can be a useful tool in growing your business.

Emma blogs at WealthySingleMommy.com and is the author of “The Kickass Single Mom.” 

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