I’ve learned many things over the years during my journey to becoming my own boss. One of the most important tips I received over and over again, was to make sure I maintained a good credit score. Of course we all should know that having good credit is important— period! Bottom line, your credit history can make you or break you. I’ll admit that I didn’t always make the best choices when it came to my credit. While in college, I can’t even tell you the amount of credit card applications I filled out over the course of four years. But, after seeing many of my mentors so concerned about their credit and maintaining it, I knew I had to get myself together.
Having good credit is important if you want to have a successful personal and financial future. A lot of jobs today are checking the credit history of potential employees. And if your dream is to be self-employed, credit plays an even bigger role. You see, when you’re an entrepreneur your character, priorities and money management skills are key components of your resume. Whether it’s acquiring a loan, securing investors or getting clients or customers, you’re asking people to invest and trust in you. This means that you have to appear to be responsible and dependable. Having good credit is a tell tale sign of these qualities.
I recently met a young entrepreneur, Sabrina Carson, who was preparing for the grand opening of her full service salon, The Nail Boutique in Brooklyn, New York. I was extremely impressed that at such a young age she was able to open a business of that quality in this economy. When I began writing this blog, I immediately thought of her because I knew that credit must have played a major role in her accomplishing her dream. So, I contacted Carson and asked her to share her experience. She shared with me some of her struggles with starting her business and securing a loan. “In order to open a business you have to have good credit and longevity of credit history,” she says. “I made sure that my credit line was over 70% with a score of 715 when it was time to approach the banks. It was a tedious process and even though my credit was good, the qualifications they wanted were set at such high standard that it seemed almost impossible. However, bank loans are not the only avenue; my credit history combined with a well developed business plan eventually landed me a contract with an investment group and I was able to see my dream come to fruition.”
Regardless of what road you take to becoming successful, whether it’s climbing the corporate ladder or entrepreneurship, credit will be a deciding factor in how fast you get there. So be smart, resist those urges to overspend, live within your means and try to use cash for most of your transactions. Request all three of your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, review them often, work on fixing negative information, pay bills on time and treat your credit like your prize possession. If you invest in building a strong foundation you will be able to reap the benefits for years to come. Being fly is nice, but if you want to be a true hustlepreneur, make sure you get your credit right too!
Yandy Smith is a music management powerhouse and co-founder/CEO of Everything Girls Love, a lifestyle, Web publishing and fashion brand. With valuable experience collaborating alongside entertainment heavyweight Mona Scott-Young at multimedia conglomerate Violator Management, and later, Monami Entertainment, she has worked with music industry greats including 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, and Jim Jones.