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Growing Your Funds By Funding People’s Dream with Rucel Pletado
We’re doing something a little bit different in this episode. Normally we talk about ways to build your platform, but we have a lot of businesses out there and new people who don’t understand the funding world. They’re starting out and they have some great ideas, but they want to get funded. Our guest is Rucel Pletado and she is an international coach and funding consultant with over several years’ experience. She helps business owners grow and expand their businesses by hiring the right people and assessing the right resources for each stage of their business.
She believes that hiring the right people who believe in you and deliver value to your project is the key to ensuring that your message and services remain relevant in the marketplace. Rucel and her team have helped their clients accept over $2 million in funding in less than three months to the market to expand and exponentially grow their businesses. Rucel facilitates a six-week business intensive and live events via webinar all over the world and consults and speaks all over the world as well. For more information, you can connect with her at IAmRucel.com. Welcome, Rucel. It’s great to have you.
Thanks. I’m excited to be here. I love you. I love how you support your clients.
This is a little different from my clients because many of them have bootstrapped and it’s been slow growth and they don’t understand the whole funding world. Tell us a little bit about how you got involved in the funding world.
I’m excited because I rarely get to share my story in regards to how I got involved. It was about a few years ago. I was sitting at a business conference. I’ve attended business conference after business conference and I was listening to business owners pitch to investors. At that moment, I realized that some of these businesses didn’t meet the qualifications that investors were looking for. They weren’t ready to accept investor-grade funding. There were a lot of conversations about, “How much funding do I need at this stage of my business? Where can I get funding?” I worked with a lot of people who bootstrapped their businesses well and bootstrapping, accepting investors, getting funding, whether it’s unsecured term loan, business loans.
The world of funding is vast and I became super curious and became an avid student to where I started building relationships with these different companies, building relationships with investors, with consultants and lawyers. All of the different nooks and crannies that are available in the financial world, I decided to get in it so that I can better understand what a business owner would need at each stage of their business. What I had learned is that most businesses when they’re starting out don’t need $3 million. A lot don’t need $500,000. Some may need $100,000 or even $25,000 to $50,000 just to get them to a place to market their business and their services to their ideal client so that they can start to generate sales, revenue and start to become more relevant in the marketplace. That’s how I got involved.
When people come to you, I see this all the time and I’m sure you do too, do they have a business plan? Do they have all their expenses laid out? Do they know their numbers? Do they know any of this?
Some do and some don’t. The ones who are able to get funding the quickest have a plan. They know exactly how much money they need, how long this money is going to last them, where the money is going to go, where it’s going to flow. People who plan are prepared to receive and accept funding. A lot of the times when people come to me or when I meet people, they aren’t educated. They weren’t taught. They have this idea. There’s entrepreneurism everything on Facebook. They’re like, “I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to do this. I have a great idea. I’m super passionate. I want to change the world.” They’re like, “Cool and then what?” Typically, no. They start to bootstrap and they try things out based off of these tactics that they learn from this person who decided to build a platform and become an authority.
They’re like, “This person looks great.” They do the work, but then they find out that the work that they do did not fit their business and what their customers want. They jump onto the next thing that sounds good. By the time that I get them, there’s a big conversation about what do you need funding for? How much do you want? Is this going to last you? Is this going to give you enough runway to make mistakes? As a business owner, we make mistakes. Especially when you’re starting a business, there’s a learning curve. You can mitigate that learning curve by hiring mentors or consultants or coaches. The thing is usually, most people don’t have a plan. They’re like, “I need this amount,” and they don’t verify that they do. They don’t have real numbers, data, any of that to show that they have something that will survive in the marketplace.
I’m going to mention this because you probably see this over and over, but a lot of my clients will come to me and they’ll say, “I’ve spent, $100,000 on coaches that didn’t serve me.” When we go through, I hear things like, “I wanted to be accelerated so I took that $80,000 I had in savings and I hired three coaches at once.” That is not the path to acceleration. It’s choosing the right people and taking it one step, one learning piece at a time and mastering that. Do you hear that a lot when people come to you and they say, “I need funding,” and then you ask them why and they say, “It’s because I spent all my money on shiny objects?”
I do. I was on a call with somebody who has been building their business for a few years, but they’re not in revenue. It’s because they spent all of their money on IP, intellectual property, trademarks. He’s right where he needs investors or he’d like investors, but he’s not ready to accept them because he didn’t do the work that was necessary in order to have a viable business. Ryan Donaldson who I love very much, he oversimplified the process and said, “Business is three things. One, you have someone who has a desire, a customer with a problem. Two, a way to fulfill and solve that problem, whether it’s your product or service or somebody else’s. Three, a way to accept payment, ideally you’re the person accepting payment.”
I always have this in my mind as to what problem are you solving? How are you the solution for that? Are you going to accept payment for solving that problem? Many times I’m hearing people who are like, “I want to help others,” and that’s great. Do you want to help others and make money? Let’s have that conversation. People who have gotten to the point where they have $80,000 they spend and they hire these coaches and your coach will have an idea of what they think that you can do. The answer to your business and the answer to how you want to solve other people’s problem lies within you. Find somebody who gets that, who understands what you want to build, who can help guide you in the right direction.
Juliet, we’ve been in the personal development industry for years. We’re avid learners and growers. We’ve hired people before but they didn’t get us. The first step before you hire anybody is understanding what you want to do. Get real with yourself and say, “It’s okay for me to make money and accept to money.” Usually the biggest issue is people being willing to receive payment for something that comes naturally to them. I’ll speak on you because you’re amazing. You have such a gift at sitting down with a client and figuring out where they are and where they want to go.The answer to your business and the answer to how you want to solve other people's problem lies within you. Click To Tweet
Putting actual data to it and asking the right questions to help guide them to talk to their customer and their audience. That’s one of the things that people forget is who am I talking to? Why am I talking to them? Why am I relevant? When you get clear as to why you want to be relevant in the marketplace, then you start to attract the right people. It’s a simple list of do you meet my criteria or do you don’t? Not everybody is right for you at this moment. Get real. Understand where you are. Understand why you want to grow and then hire accordingly step-by-step.
You brought up such an important point there, which is perception. Many people come into the business and they say, “This is my brand and these are my colors and this is how I appear,” but they don’t buy the time to bother to find out if that’s the way the audience who sees them perceives them. That’s more important than how you perceive yourself out there.
There are a lot of ego-based businesses out there and that’s great and everything, but it will only take you so far. The direction that I see the marketplace going into before it used to be where the CEOs of a company or these big brand names would determine what consumers would buy. The thing about it is it’s not that way anymore. The consumer determines what they buy. The consumers are empowered, especially with the internet, to research who you are. It’s a lot of who else in their network is purchasing your services. It’s market awareness at this point. Building relationships is huge. It’s one of those things.
For people whose actions are primarily independent, the small solopreneur, that covers my audience, authors, speakers, coaches, small consultants and sometimes small business. How do they go about acquiring funds?
There are many ways that they can acquire funds. It’s important that as a consultant you know how and where to find funding because you’re going to run up. There will be points in your business where you’re going to want to travel, to speak on stage. You have clients that are in the queue but haven’t paid you in full yet. The way that you go about it is you can either get unsecured funding, whether it be term loans or business loans. I personally do a lot of the unsecured stuff. It depends on what your goals are. Here’s what I know. If you were to go to a traditional bank, they can only give you about $100,000 in funding and that’s their limit. That’s where as a consultant, as an author, as a speaker you’re having your financials together, having a plan of action, knowing what it is that funders are looking for is important. Knowing about how much funding you need is also important.
As a self-employed business owner, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re incorporated, that you file your taxes properly, that you’re paying yourself and that you’re making an income because everything that lenders look for is they want to make sure that it’s taxable, verifiable. You’re also going to want to pay attention to your FICO score. A lot of the times when I meet consultants, coaches and business owners who are in a startup, they haven’t thought about these things yet. They haven’t incorporated yet. They haven’t hired somebody to do their tax information. They have bootstrapped and they’ve maxed out all their credit cards and they don’t know what to do next.
They’re like, “I need funding but I maxed my limit. What do I do now?” Yes, you can still get funding. There are creative ways. You need to get a silent partner and we need to create a plan to lower your credit card debt. We need to partner with a credit repair specialist. Depending on your situation, you could get funding. Knowing which questions to ask and be prepared to answer those questions is going to be important.
You bring up an important point when you’re bootstrapping, those credit cards. If you max them out, your FICO score goes down. You’ve put yourself in a position where you may not be able to get funding.
I see this a lot. When it comes to credit cards, we’re not educated enough. Here’s the biggest tip. When you’re thinking about your FICO score, thinking about utilizing credit cards, you want to keep your credit utilization to fewer than 30%. This is standard across the board. That will help keep your payments low. If you can pay early, do it. On time is good and keeping track of that. It is part of being disciplined and organized. One of the biggest learning curves for a business owner is that discipline of tracking your numbers. Another thing to think about is, “I’m maxed out. What do I do next?” The next thing that you can do as an entrepreneur, which is brilliant, is getting great at enrolling people to believe in your project. You can acquire silent partners who will be vested in your company so that you can utilize their credit scores. In order to do that, it’s not like an angel investor. You do need to create a plan with that silent partner and the documentation is simple. The difference is that rather than you personally going in and applying for the funding, your partner would be doing it. We talked about relationships that way.
I don’t know if you know Catherine Bell or if you’ve talked to her. She ran a program called Do The Numbers. She ran it in beta. As the person who was overseeing her beta, it was incredible to me how resistant people were to do their books. She has this amazing spreadsheet and how to snowball the credit and get you out and cashflows and the whole nine yards that entrepreneurs need. That was the biggest thing in the program is watching those entrepreneurs have this complete resistance to putting those numbers in a place where there was accountability.
Money can be an emotional topic. I’m going to go a little woo on you because this is how I perceive it. What I find is that the people’s resistance to looking at the numbers is a resistance to them for giving themselves about acquiring the set. Most business owners feel they’re supposed to know the numbers like, “You should know your numbers. You need to know your numbers. That’s what it means to run a business.” The fact is that we haven’t been taught to pay attention to those things. We haven’t been taught to think about our lives in a way where every decision that we make has a consequence. Typically, many of the actions that we take are reactionary so we react to whatever’s relevant, whatever’s emotionally-charged at the moment.
If we feel like, “I’m going to purchase this piece of equipment because I feel it will help generate more revenue for me and it’s super shiny and pretty,” versus taking a look at it like, “It’s a great idea for me to purchase this piece of equipment because it’s going to generate me an ROI of this amount of money and this amount of time. I’m going to 10x my company by purchasing this piece of equipment.” It’s a different conversation going from that logical-based versus emotionally-based reactive place, which I believe and trust your gut feeling. Being able to distinguish what your gut feeling is from what you’re fear-based reaction may be based on the entrepreneurial highly optimistic point of view, there is a balance. I can understand watching these entrepreneurs grow because I see it all the time too and it’s exciting. It’s usually the conversation of everything is okay. It’s just numbers. Numbers go up, numbers go down. There are zeros and sometimes you may see negatives. All is fine.
Business is booming and behind the scenes, it’s like, “I’m going to have to file for bankruptcy.” For a lot of people, it’s shiny. They’re not being transparent about what’s going on. That’s another thing that blows me away are the people that are still doing the lifestyle ads on Facebook, “I have this great house. I have this great car.” When you know them, it’s not reality. Let’s say that I have clients that want to hire me and are low on funding. Can you get funding for them not being business people, although I always have business people? How does that work?People who plan are prepared to receive and accept funding. Click To Tweet
You can get funding for people who are in business and people who aren’t in business. It’s not about whether or not we can get you funding. It’s more along the lines of how do you need to think before you acquire the funding? We can help people in business and the business qualifications are different than somebody who’s acquiring funding personally. Acquiring funding for people in business is a lot simpler than somebody who is not in business. The simple answer is yes, we can help your clients whether they are in business or not in business acquire the funding.
What kind of funding do people go for?
The type of funding that I personally love to work with is unsecured funding versus secured funding. If you were to go to a bank, sometimes you need collateral, sometimes you need financial statements. There’s a lot of documentation. The thing about it though is when you’re looking at acquiring funding from traditional banks, sometimes it takes four to eight weeks. The questions you want to ask yourself are how soon do I need funding? When do I need funding? Why do I need that funding? When you’re asking yourself these questions, it becomes more concrete. It is that number’s conversation of knowing what exactly what you need because when you’re going to a bank, they’re not going to care about your story. They’re not going to care about how passionate you are. I care. It does become straight numbers. It’s also different from going to an Angel investor because Angel investors as well care about your story, but they also have criteria of what it is that they need to accept. When you’re thinking about going for funding, ask yourself, “Am I prepared to receive funding? Do I know how much I need? Do I know what kind of funding that I need? Do I know what my options are available?” If you don’t, then ask people who know like me.
This probably varies, but can people still get funding for themselves or do they need a consultant? Is it a combination of both depending on where you’re at?
People can get funding themselves. You can go to a bank especially if you have a great relationship with your bank or any of the small business financing with SBA loans you can go get on your own. It’s going to take a little bit of time. They’re not going to care about how much you need. There is a cap as to how much funding they will give you. Once you work with these companies, you’re locked into that system for a good three to six months where you’re not going to apply for other sources of funding. LendingTree.com is one that I find people going to or Kabbage.com a lot of business owners go to as well.
When you’re filing it for yourself, you’re going to be the one doing the work and putting all the paperwork together and putting all the submissions. When you’re working with a consultant or any company that agrees to raise funding $25,000 to $500,000 is typically what I see across the board. You’re working with somebody who’s going to advocate for you. You’re working with somebody who wants to hear your story, is passionate about what you’re doing and knows exactly what your goals are. Their job is to gather all the documentation, ask you all the questions so you don’t have to think about it. Building your business is already emotionally-taxing so hiring a consultant mitigates that.
There was a company that I helped who experienced this similar situation where on their own they qualified for $40,000 in funding. It was a metals company. By the time that they reached me, we had gotten them qualified for over $300,000 in unsecured term loans as well as lines of credit. They accepted about $210,000. On your own, you’re typically limited to as much funding as you can acquire. With working with a consultant, they’ll help you make sure that every action that you take doesn’t significantly affect your credit score because that’s a thing. They’re going to make sure that you’re getting the maximum amount of funding based off of your goals and they’ll also provide you with other creative ideas as to how you can continue to grow and fund your business.
Where is the area here with the Venture Capitalist where we start having pitch decks and all that put together?
It’s a great idea for you to continue to always be refining your pitch deck. A pitch deck I feel is important because it keeps you as a business owner grounded with your company. It’s also awesome visualization in regards to pitch decks. Having a business plan is also super important. That’s something that from day one you should be considering anyway. The biggest piece of the business plan I believe is the market plan that goes within the business plan. It is about your sales and how you’re going to generate revenue for your company, for your family, for yourself, however you want to think about it. If you’re in business and you’re not making money, then you want to reconsider what you’re doing and we think it. I don’t mean that in a mean way, but entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. If you’re passionate, you know you have an idea that you want to share with the world, partnering with the right people is important. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to look at the numbers and doesn’t want to think about the day-to-day operations, consider finding somebody who loves to do that. Partner with them so that you can do the things that you love to do. That’s where hiring the right people is important because there’s only one of you. Do the things that you love to do and hire out the rest.
Definitely stay in your zone of genius and work the income-producing activities. As a solopreneur, I can’t even stress how important that is. You can go from class to class learning new skills, but if you don’t have income-producing activities in your business every single day, you’re not going to have the revenue you’re looking for. It’s important.
I know that at the beginning of my journey when I was learning about entrepreneurship and building businesses. The one thing that I find myself and other business owners came into difficulty with is they weren’t clear on their messaging. They weren’t clear about how they want to help. It was like they had this big idea that was this large and they didn’t know what their next step was. If you can get clear on your vision of what you want to create, get as crystal clear as possible so that you can get the feeling of it. Start to share your idea with people who you know will support or critique and give you valuable feedback. Start there. Clarity is one of the biggest things that I find business owners struggle with when they don’t have a business plan and they don’t have their financials in check. They come to me where like, “I want to do this thing but I don’t know what to do next.” That’s the one thing that has made an impact on how I’m growing in business.
We addressed that with the quiz because we have many people that have spent a lot of money on messages that weren’t them. There’s no clarity. There’s no audience connection. That’s one of the big things we use it for is you’re trying to validate a product. Let’s validate that audience too because it may be that you have a great product but you’re in front of the wrong audience or you have a great audience that you’re offering the wrong product to. There’s a lot of consumer feedback that takes place within that. I do what I do because I see many people who are a little messy in that area. If they cleaned up, they will have much better success.
Having a great CPA who is doing your tax filings are going to be a lifesaver, especially if you’re a business owner. You’re going to want to be up to date with your corporate tax returns. You’re going to want to be up to date with your P&L statements and your budgets. When it comes to business lending, that’s across the board what lenders are looking for are great financials. If your company isn’t making a minimum of $15,000 per month, you’re going to run into some challenges in regards to acquiring funding. Business owners who are looking to acquire business funding, the first goal is to get your business generating at least $15,000 per month minimum for a minimum of three months and you’re good to go. If you don’t meet those qualifications, the best way to go is personal and then you’re bringing your personal information, your FICO scores. Your business credit and your personal credit go hand-in-hand. Taking care of both is important. That’s what we find.Usually the biggest issue is people being willing to receive payment for something that comes naturally to them. Click To Tweet
Remember on that personal credit, you have to be cutting yourself a paycheck and all that. When you say, “There’s $15,000 that came in the door,” remember by the time the government, the state, the federal, Social Security, all those things when you’re cutting yourself a paycheck. It’s not as much as you think it is. A lot of us in my circle have been practicing the profit first. There’s a book called Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. A lot of us have gone over to his system of keeping our books so that we make sure that we get a paycheck every single month. That’s important if you’re using your personal credit, isn’t it?
Absolutely. Lenders are looking for verifiable taxable income. Say you’re a company who’s in revenue $120,000 but you write off $60,000 of it. Your company is only showing that it generated $50,000 in income. You won’t qualify for as much funding. Paying yourself first is always important because that’s how you make a livelihood. Being able to differentiate your personal versus your business is important, but there are steps to take before you can fully do that on your own. Understand that if you’re not there yet if your personal and your business is mixed together because you’re a sole proprietor or you have an LLC and you’re filing as an LLC but also as a sole proprietor. It’s going to look a little tricky. Talking to people and sitting down with somebody who understands how they can best support you in getting funding if funding is what you need next, that’s good.
Investors also want to know that you know your numbers and that they can trust you to be responsible for the funding. Your pitch deck is a reflection of your business plan. The pitch deck is a visual representation of that business plan, in my opinion. Being clear with your company, where it’s at, where you want to grow, being able to share your story, share your message to somebody who gets it and conveys it clearly and succinctly is important. When it comes to investors, they will seriously take a look at your business when you can prove that you can help customers. Prove your model. Make sure that it works. Track everything that you do. I know that you’re diligent on that, Juliet. I know you help your clients do that. If you feel you’re lost and confused in those places, we have a network of people that can support you in that.
Where can people find you if they want to find out more and if they qualify for anything?
You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can find me on Instagram, but only if you want to be friends. You can visit me at IAmRucel.com. I have partnered with multiple companies that specialize in different categories including appoint capital, right funding and things of these nature. Contact me at IAmRucel.com. My email is Hello@IAmRucel.com.
Thank you so much. We appreciate you being here.
Thank you, Juliet.
- Rucel Pletado
- Catherine Bell – past episode
- Profit First
- Facebook – Rucel Pletado
- LinkedIn – Rucel Pletado
- Instagram – Rucel Pletado
About Rucel Pletado
Rucel Pletado is an international coach and funding consultant with over 5 years of experience helping business owners grow and expand their businesses by hiring the right people and accessing the right resources for each stage of their business. She believes that hiring the right people who believe in you and deliver value to your project is the key to ensuring that your message and services remain relevant in the marketplace. Rucel and her team have helped their clients accept over $2 million in funding in less than 3-months to market, expand, and exponentially grow their businesses. Rucel facilitates 6 Week Business Intensives as live events and via webinar all over the world and consults and speaks all over the world. For more information connect with her at iamrucel.com.