Radical Personal Finance Episode 230-How Being Debt-Free Enables Entrepreneurship: The Financial Journey of the Podcast Answer Man, Cliff RavenscraftI love hearing entrepreneurship stories because they speak to me of people who clarify what they want and pursue it aggressively.

Vision is required for you to be willing to leave the bed of employment where things are comfortable and warm and pursue the rocky world of entrepreneurship.

The road isn’t easy. But it can be easier if you will build a financial foundation underneath you before you launch.

My guest today is Cliff Ravenscraft, best known as the Podcast Answer Man. Cliff has an amazing entrepreneurial story and today I get to bring it to you in great detail.

Cliff openly shares where and how he started and the steps that he has taken to bring him to his current level of financial success.

Pay attention: he’s experienced the joy of living on the $11,000 of profit he earned in his first year (not easy to live on that amount) and the joy of earning over $500,000 gross income last year.

Learn from his story.



Time stamp of this episode (courtesy of a listener):
4:30: How Cliff got into debt in college. He eventually accumulated $50k-$60k in unsecured debt before he got married 18 years ago.

9:16: How Cliff started working at his parents’ insurance agency which the family owned since 1927 to set up their computer networking systems. After that is done, Cliff began quoting insurance for his parents and his dad encourages him to get his insurance license so that he could earn commissions. 11 years in, he was paid $87k a year.

11:40: 7 years into it Cliff discovered Dave Ramsey from his friends. He was doing better but not out of it. Cliff shared initially how he wonders if it is entirely possible to live debt free. They got of debt with the debt snowball. In 2 years they paid off all their unsecured debt except mortgage.

14:20: Late 2007, the family did the paperwork for him to take over the insurance agency, which will set him up for life.

15:40: How Cliff started podcasting and how his “Lost” podcast got on iTunes and had 27,000 subscribers by 3rd episode! How he received feedback that is touching from his listeners, and with a gentle question whether he can answer their question in a podcast episode, and that became a subject idea.

25:00: Cliff relating how different touching people when working in a ministry is so different from touching people at podcasting. It became his first question to himself whether he can do podcasting full time.

28:00: After becoming debt free, Cliff relates what pushed him to take the plunge to podcast, how his wife and parents take to it, that he is walking away from a very very lucrative business. His dad’s ultimate faith in him succeeding.

32:00: His plan or no plan. Cliff shares the anxiety of serving notice. The doubts in his head, his panic attacks.

35:00: Cliff shares the difficulty in pricing himself, how the transition from a paid employee to entrepreneur didn’t help. His lack of confidence in recognizing his value to his customer impacts his ability to talk about how much he charges.

36:40: His early financial struggles. His personal income of $11k. He allowed himself to only be paid once a month. He live off his old income saved. He also lived off 3 months from his tax refund. He signed up for food stamps. He had doubts, but except for one in his business advisory group, most support his decision to take up the food stamp. Why he was labeled as a fraud because he had a retirement account and have to pay back the 6 months of food stamps. He had to take out $14k to pay for taxes and live off it.

44:00: His 1-on-1 consulting fee raised to $300 an hour. And he is still working too much after raising his hourly charges. That is when his mastermind group told him he has to stop doing 1-on-1 coaching.

44:40: Cliff figuring out how to create a business out of his hobby.

44:50: A lady gave him a check donating $500 to buy a better microphone. He created a plus membership $10/mo. to get $28,000 a year. One of his sponsored paid for his mortgage for 4 years.

46:50: He started selling equipment. He was approaching the equipment seller for his clients when the equipment man ask him whether he is willing to become a reseller. He will buy it more expensive, but he can sell it whatever he wants. And the equipment company will ship to the customer direct. Profit margin is very good. He reach a stage where he is getting $4k to 5k a month in profit from equipment sales

50:00: His relationship with Dan Miller. He said to Dan Miller that on a scale of 10 his podcast is 3 in terms of audio quality. He eventually set up Dan Miller’s new podcast equipment setting and post production for him.

58:00: He stopped selling equipment and why. He ended up selling his own equipment that he use to set up podcast.

64:00: His digital video training experience. He was making $300/hr taking on 4 coaching clients, $600 each for 2 hours. He created a mailing list where he tells people to get on, only if they want to notified if they are selling things to them. He sold $16,000 worth of pre-sales before the product was made.

65:00: How he began setting up his online course.

76:00: Joshua share how he go to know Podcast Answerman and how it resulted into Radical Personal Finance.

91:00: Cliff shares how he thinks of podcasting at this point.

96:00: How important being debt free is, not getting into debt, find out what they can do to make it work. He also shares his understanding of Financial Freedom.

102:00: Cliff shares who are the important people that supports him.

112:00: Cliff on dealing with his celebrity status as an introvert.


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