Here’s how to stop going into debt to grow your business.

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“It takes money to make money.”

It’s a very frustrating phrase. Where am I supposed to get the money I need to make the money I need? Is there some sort of vault I am unaware of?

While I have incredible, hard-working, get-er-done parents, a trust fund or “gift to get me started” was impossible for us. I didn’t have any savings, and I didn’t have investors. I mean, you would have been out of your right mind to invest in my debt-laden company.

So, where was I supposed to get the money I needed to make the money I needed?

I chose credit cards.

Over ten years in business, working harder and harder, I went deeper and deeper into debt. I funded my marketing, business development and operations on plastic and overdraft protection.

I was totally broke … and there are a lot more fun ways to be totally broke than working all the time.

When my daughter was born, everything changed.

Related: Why Search Engine Optimization Is the Key to Making Money Online

She was a colicky baby (meaning the cute little thing was a devil child who cried all the time). But, I discovered if I swaddled her tightly, put her in the pack-and-play and pushed it against the refrigerator, then the vibration would put her to sleep.

So, she’s finally sleeping and I start going through my mail. I find a letter from my bank saying they aren’t going to cover my overdraft any longer. The bank had been sold and from that point forward, whenever there wasn’t a deposit to cover a check I had written, it was going to bounce. Even if that meant payroll.

As my daughter slept peacefully, I started to cry.

Now I wasn’t just a failure for myself, I was a failure for her.

I couldn’t keep doing this. I couldn’t keep living on the edge of my house of cards. I couldn’t keep waking up at 3:00 a.m. to check my bank account that had rolled over, to find out how much deeper in the hole I had gotten.

In the moment with that tear-stained letter, I did the only thing I knew to do. I am a woman of faith and in that moment, I chose not to crumble and instead to pray. Pray for something different.

I had to find a way to grow my business profitably and stop going deeper and deeper in debt.

It was then that everything changed.

You see, we are all taught the traditional way of marketing.

You run an ad to a lead magnet to get a lead, and then you sell something. Whether it’s online or in person, your money is made in the final step.

The problem with this model is that you have to carry the expense of steps one and two. And if the sale doesn’t happen in step three, you are in trouble. 

Related: 21 Low-Cost Ways to Make Money from Home

What I needed was a way to self-fund my marketing so before the prospect got in the room with me, I was already covering my expenses.

Nothing like having your back against the wall to make a radical change …

The missing piece was a profit-driven marketing model. By adding in an offer on the thank-you page after the lead collection, I could self-fund all of my marketing. By offering something for sale, not only would my marketing pay for itself, but I would be serving my prospects even more. 

Think about it…

This person just raised their hand and said, “I have a problem. I think you can solve it. And I trust you enough to give you my contact information. Can you do something for me?” Yes. Yes, I could.

I could offer them something more in this very moment than a simple thank you. I could sell them something that could get them to the finish line more quickly and solve their pain, fix their problem or give them pleasure. A course, a consulting package — even recordings of the webinar they just signed up for.

I started by using a webinar as the lead magnet and simply sold webinar recordings as the Profit Maximizer. And it started to work.

Not only were my ads paying for themselves, but they were generating a profit.

At first, it was just a few extra dollars a day, but within a couple of months, my marketing was pulling off an extra $3,000 to $5,000 a month in profit. That was enough to cover our office rent and pay for my assistant, which in itself lifted a huge burden.

As I scaled our results, our profits increased further. When I sold my marketing agency at the end of last year (so I could focus on our social media coaching and training business), we had brought in more than $1.1 million in profit outside of client revenue.

The good news is, this doesn’t just work for my business.

Related: 18 Ways You Can Make Money Right Now

Whether online for offline business, affiliate marketer, professional service provider, retail store, attorney or network marketer, a profit maximizer gives the power to the business owner to scale at will. This can turn your marketing from an expense to a profit center.

I know I didn’t go through the dark times by accident. It was so I could tell others that it doesn’t take money to make money.

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