Get out of your way and create a successful business.
My guest today is Corinne McCormack for part two of the interview we did a couple of weeks ago about how to build a multimillion-dollar business. Yes, you can, and she has some final tips, advice, and strategies for you in this episode you don't want to miss. Here we go.
I'm here with Corinne McCormack, and we have had some great interviews recently and there were a couple of topics though that I wanted to cover with her. Corinne, are you open, let's tackle those last two topics that we didn't get to do in our earlier shows. In your book, From Living Room to Boardroom: How I Launched and Sold a Multimillion-Dollar Business, you tell your whole journey. What I noticed in it is you were very upfront and open to talking about how you were able to borrow against your home to finance the start of your business. You're in New York. You had some equity, you were good. But what do you recommend for people with less than that type of option? Is that a deal-breaker if they can't get that initial funding?
Let me just start by saying when I write about the apartment in my book, the reality is you're right. It is New York real estate. And after five or 10 years, our apartment value went up to the point that we were able to take out a second and third mortgage, which we used to finance the business. But what people need to understand is that I took a risk. So that when I lost my business, my husband and I were in the process of buying an apartment. And we knew we were on the line for a larger mortgage. I hadn't lost my job, but the president of our company, our parent company went Chapter 11. The president of the company lost his job.
I called my accountant because it was four more weeks until our apartment closed. "Oh, my God, Larry. What do I do? We're going to be closing on this apartment in four weeks, the company is in Chapter 11. what am I going to do? Should we be taking on all of this mortgage?" Because it was a big mortgage, and my accountant said something to the effect, "Well, you have to live somewhere."
My husband and I just looked at each other and said, "We're taking the risk. We're going to go into this mortgage, we're going to figure it out. We'll figure out how to make it get paid." So for the first year of my business, we now had this very large mortgage to pay. I didn't have the benefit of substantial real estate when I first launched my business because we were still paying off a mortgage. And at that point, the apartment hadn't increased in value. We were just looking to make mortgage payments. So the first thing I have to say is people who want to make things happen in their life, sometimes you have to take a risk, but you have to take it or you live with regrets. I talk about risk in my book. You have to take a knowledgeable risk.
Back to earning money for people or creating money when they want to launch their own business and they don't come from a lot of money, there are a lot more ways to fund startup businesses today than there were back in 1993. There's the internet, there are Kickstart campaigns. So there are opportunities. If you have a great idea for a company and you know how to position yourself online and develop a website, and develop an Instagram account and get a following, and go on Kickstarter and start selling your idea to people, people will gravitate towards you.
I was just mentoring a couple of young women who started a business. And they did a Kickstart campaign and they launched enough money that they were able to finance their first round of inventory. A substantial amount of money, so there's a lot of opportunities. It's not what are the troubles or what are the problems to make what I want. It's like, "What do I want and how do I make it happen?" And I remember when I first financed my business, I became part of a women's organization. It was called American Economic Development Corporation. It doesn't exist anymore, but there are a lot of women's organizations out there that you can partner with. And this organization had an event where they invited a senior vice president from Chase Bank to talk to women about financing their business.
200 women attended, I was one of them. He went through this whole presentation about how they wanted to finance startup businesses. And at the end when he had the question and answer session and I said, "Oh, I have a question. I have a really important question. I want to launch this business. I've gone to three different banks looking for money, and all the banks say you need to be in business for two to three years before we'll loan you. But I won't be in business in two to three years unless I get a loan. So it's a catch 22. What am I supposed to do?" So this gentleman said, "Here's my phone number." Yeah, we didn't have emails. There was no internet. "Here's my phone number. Call me tomorrow." So I got on the phone at nine o'clock in the morning. I wanted to be the first one in line to get through because we used to get busy signals.
Millennials, yes, you used to use your phone and there was something known a busy signal. If more than one person was talking on the phone, you couldn't talk to the other person. So I wanted to be first in line. I got through, I spoke with him, and then I started on the process to get my loan. And a couple of weeks later I said, "By the way, how many other people reached out after that meeting?" The answer was none. So lots of times people tell themselves that they want something, but then they think of all the reasons why it won't work, and they stop themselves from moving forward to make it happen. So my motto is if you want something, figure out how to get it and go for it. And yes, you're going to need you to take a risk. Nothing comes easy.
I like, too, that you covered through more traditional financing. Sometimes it's a credit union. Sometimes it's the small banks, it's a local bank. I know Chase had launched a new program right at the exact same time. You had perfect timing with them. That's what they were investing in, small businesses because that was the new wave.
That was the new wave. Right. The internet was up and coming. All of these things were starting to happen and people were starting to understand the value of small businesses. It was just perfect timing, and yet it wasn't perfect timing because there was also a bad recession going on at the same time. So again, had I told myself the story, you know that, oh, it's a recession. People aren't spending money. Things are bad. I better get another job. I never would have launched my own company.
You really need to believe in yourself. I had asked a lot of people prior to launching my own business because I knew someday I wanted to do it. "What do you need to have when you launch your own business?" And people said to me, among other things, you need enough money in the bank that you got two years worth of salary. So in case you don't make any money, you could draw on that. I didn't have any money in the bank. We had nothing. We had a new mortgage and no job, and my husband was working, but my salary wasn't coming in. So I had a severance package that would last for six months. That's what I had.
I think the nos are all fear-driven, and they are also those that don't have enough drive. It is their excuse. It is their show stopper. When they hit that fork in the road, it's the path easily taken that's smooth and paved.
And you can see the end of the path. I think what people need to remember too is okay if it doesn't work, what's the worst that it can be? Can you survive that? And if you think that all the way through rather than just I can't do it because I'm afraid of that, how bad really is that? And how much does that stink? Can you dig yourself out of that? And I think once you have those, to me those are safety net thoughts. It takes the fear out of the risk, out of the leap, out of the trust.
Corinne: You have to want it more than you fear it.
There's a lot of things out there that are scary and you know, what if. But if what you want is stronger and your drive to succeed is stronger, and your belief that you're going to figure out a way no matter what. And that's what I believed. I kept saying to myself, "I'm going to figure out how to find the money for this company no matter what." And that's what I did. And when the bank said to us, "You need to put your property up as collateral against your loan," meaning if the business goes under, you lose your home.
My husband and I said, "Well, go for it." Because what are our other options, not to go for our dream? We'd rather roll the dice and risk at all, than sit back and say, "No. That's too risky. I don't want to do it." No regrets.
No regrets. Right. And you're right, you do have to move forward and you have to have ... You know, what's the worst that can happen? And something bad happens, I'll figure out a way to get out of that too. So you really do need to believe in yourself. And the nice thing about the world today is that there is the internet, there are opportunities to reach out to like-minded people. I have an Instagram page called Corinne Consults. People can come on there and ask me questions. I'm happy to, to talk to people.
I have a website, corinnemccormackconsulting. Come on my website. I'm happy to talk to you. And there's different, and it's not just me. There's a world out there of people that if you Google something, you can get the answer very quickly. And you just need to to make it happen.
But check the credibility of whose advice you're following. You need to be smart enough to be able to judge the crap from the good. On the web, there can be a lot of hucksters, shall we say.
Susan: Any ding-dong can have a microphone and can type.
The last thing on the financing I want to remind you, most of your communities have community grants. And especially if you are creating an opportunity that could hire another person in your community. Remember, grants don't have to be repaid.
Grants are a, "Hey. Make it happen, guys. Let me see what you can do with it." Look deeper. It isn't always just about the Kickstarters, as we know. It isn't always about the banks. Be creative. How bad do you want it? Go get it. Believe in yourself.