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Invest in smaller businesses

According to Sanchez, there are millions of small businesses for sale across the U.S.

As an example, she explained to Bartlett how her uncle closed down his small business — which, in fact, cost him money — because he “had no idea his business was sellable.”

Her investing strategy is to start with smaller businesses, which she referred to as “gateway drug businesses,” to get in the game. This is where you can truly hone the skills that are essential to bringing in money, such as learning to convince others to trust your financial instincts.

If you can read a balance sheet and understand the concept of profit and loss, “which is not that difficult to understand,” then, Sanchez said, you can understand the art of deal-making.

Learning how to master deals through various experiences with smaller businesses will ultimately help you in the long run.

Sanchez said she found people to operate each of the small businesses she'd bought, sold them for a profit and went through the same process “again and again and again.” From there, you “stair-step” to larger businesses.

While Sanchez spent $100K on her first business venture (a laundromat), she told Bartlett that you could buy a business regardless of your budget. She bought one for only $3,000 and another for $8,000. She’s even bought several businesses for zero dollars, which required a “little work” on the structuring of the deal.

This can be done through seller financing, which means the seller gets paid on performance. Essentially, the buyer receives a loan from the seller in order to buy the business. Then, the buyer pays back the loan in installments, with interest. This allows the buyer to keep a percentage of the profits, while the seller earns interest on the loan.

Why would a seller go for this strategy? Some small businesses are harder to sell than others and they may not have many interested buyers — in fact, some could take a year or more to sell, while some may never sell at all. Sanchez said there could also be tax benefits to the seller.

For “most small businesses below $10 million in revenue, 60% of them sell with some component of seller financing,” she added.

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Expertise ‘leads to a bunch of cash’

While this line of work certainly comes with considerable risks if not managed correctly, Sanchez said it all comes down to understanding terms around business reporting, operating, investing, personal finance, payment, debt and due diligence. Again, it all boils down to learning the “language of money.”

People are poor “because nobody teaches us the language of deals,” she said. We learn how to negotiate salaries, but we don’t learn how to negotiate for “equity and ownership.” If we did, “the world would look a whole lot different.”

If you become fluent in the language of finance, “you can become an expert — and expertise leads to a bunch of cash,” she added.

Of course, there’s still an element of persuasion and salesmanship involved in the ability to close a deal, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

However, becoming fluent in finance can help in a myriad other ways, from managing your personal finances and buying a home to saving for retirement.

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Vawn Himmelsbach Freelance Contributor

Vawn Himmelsbach is a journalist who has been covering tech, business and travel for more than two decades. Her work has been published in a variety of publications, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC News, ITbusiness, CAA Magazine, Zoomer, BOLD Magazine and Travelweek, among others.

Disclaimer

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