Here's How This Self-Made Millionaire Blends Business and Love
I was honored to chat with Sara Rose Harcus, a serial entrepreneur currently leading up Hüify and dmanna with her partner in North Carolina. Her conversation was major money inspiration – from making mistakes, building partnerships in love and business, and realizing her strengths.
How do you feel about money right now?
My relationship with money has changed significantly over the past 3 – 4 years. There’s been some small yet profound insights I’ve been lucky to learn so early. I’m honored to share my experience and pass around the wisdom that’s so greatly inspired me.
When I started my marketing / sales agency a few years ago with my business-partner-turned-husband, we had a traditional freelance process. We create 4-5-month engagements with a 50% up-front payment model, the rest due after the work was completed. But our clients took their time fulfilling the rest of the agreement, and ultimately, we ended with $30,000 in outstanding payments.
We ultimately had to hire an accounting firm who helped us get a lawyer and get that money. That firm was really helpful because they gave me advice that changed my life. They simply said “you are not going to start any more contracts or do any more work until they pay. And, you will be surprised how little problems you have with asking for money upfront.” That to me was crazy; I thought that all of our clients would want to see work and results before paying. But when we implemented this, people didn’t even blink an eye. We approach all our engagements with this mantra and literally no one has ever had an issue with it. They pay, we start.
Looking back, I realize my hesitations for asking for money upfront was from my own insecurities. I really had had to build the confidence in myself to be able to do this. And I realized that the people that don’t want to pay upfront are probably the people that we don’t want to work with.
You mentioned your business partner is also your husband. How do you balance both relationships?
We approach our relationship in a similar way as we do work. We’re both on the board of our business, and on the board of our personal finances. In both cases, we collectively manage the funds from a single account. We have financial advisors for both personal and business, and they both act as a buffer and counselor through challenging money decisions.
We have a very similar world-view on finances, so we really don’t disagree that much. Studies show that women tend to be more risk-averse than men, and that was certainly in our relationship. We both had to work to find the right risk-balance to drive our business and personal finance goals. We’ve been able to grow through all of these things together, and that’s been awesome.
It all comes down to your attitude about the other person, whether they are your wife or your business partner or your best friend. Finances are not rocket science. It’s been amazing. Now we run three companies together and I get to say that I’m a self-made millionaire at 27 years old, thanks to the financial counseling and wisdom I received from my husband and other advisors.
How did you and your partner arrive at such a healthy relationship with money?
My partner and I have similar views on money, but we had very different relationships with it growing up. He grew up in a more stable, middle-class family, and was surrounded by strong mentors to learn money management. He’s read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he majored in business, so overall has a strong perspective.
I grew up in a single-family home on food stamps and Medicaid. I wasn’t really taught finances like my husband was, and didn’t seek out information about saving or investing money; it was always about getting to the next month. I majored in Chemistry, which meant that I had a great aptitude for math, which actually gave me a great sense of numbers for our companies, but I didn’t feel like I had the strengths to understand money fully at first.
My husband was able to support me as in a great way. He could see that I’m a smart woman that didn’t have the mentors about money that he did, and he helped bring me up to his level of financial understanding, so we could move forward with the same perspective. I didn’t initially think that I could be leading financial decisions, but he’s really propped me up. I became the majority owner of all of our businesses, and I’m the financial executor. Now he asks me the money questions and I’m able to put all those years of calculus to good use.
I think it makes all the difference; to have a partner who has all the humility and strength to support you in that journey. It would be a lot different if he wasn’t able to invest that time with me.