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This week’s podcast guest is the AWESOME Mike Lenz, co-founder of TipYourSelf.com (UPDATE: no longer in beta! Now available in the iTunes app store). This was an especially fantabulous interview because we interrogated Mike on both the features of the Tip Yourself App along with his take on the journey from being a worker bee to launching out as an entrepreneur. Mike is also a favorite interviewee because he is Chi-town based (which means we’ve met in person!) and I like how he weaves his passion for saving, financial independence and intentional financial actions into his entrepreneurship narrative. In this episode, you’ll be inspired and awestruck about how simple, yet profoundly emotional personal finance can be- I call it “stupid-crazy finance.” We’ve all been there. Without further ado, let’s jump in to see what Mike has to say about his app and life as a start-up co-founder.
About Tip Yourself
- Tip Yourself is an app designed for motivation, reward and saving money.
- We are generous with many people in our lives (we tip cab drivers, waiters, etc.) Why not recognize the good things that we do and reward ourselves for our accomplishments, too?
- How Tip Yourself works: it’s a virtual tip jar, where you can initiate intentional “tips” to yourself in the app. The money is moved from your personal checking account and upon tipping yourself, moved to a FDIC insured account, accessible to you at any time. You simply use the app to move funds in and out of your tip jar.
- Think of Tip Yourself as the positivity engine that helps you support big goals.
- Tip Yourself different from automated solutions like Digit or Acorns. It’s designed to support purposeful, intentional activity with the end result of supporting specific accomplishments and meeting goals.
- Tip Yourself is also good for people who may not struggle with money, but rather reaching goals. Tip Yourself is like your annoying, positive friend who will keep you thinking about the good things you accomplish rather than all the ways you fell short.
About the Journey to Full-time Entrepreneur
- Mike had some personal savings he could lean back on to pursue entrepreneurship. Mike noted that he’d always been a good saver. He thinks of saving as buying his freedom (another reason he’s so passionate about the objective of Tip Yourself.) Having money in the bank helped him be more plugged in at work (he knew if it came down to it, his finances would allow him to go other routes if needed) and make plans for business ownership down the road.
- Mike & co-founder Sam set milestones to determine when Mike would become full-time with TYS.
- On leaving your day job: don’t burn bridges! Do you your best to leave amicably and respectfully. If there is a path to com back if needed, even better.
About the Tech Start-up Game
- Have a good co-founder if possible, but don’t let that stop you from starting something if you don’t have one right away.
- Depending on your end goal and business model, you may or may not need to raise money. You can go spend a lot of time trying to convince people to give you money OR you can build a business that is so AWESOME that people are knocking down your door to invest. Don’t let raising money be such a distraction that you forget the main goal of building a great business.
- Personal burn rate- what you spend on a personal level. Try to decrease this so that your start-up can thrive. Mike says business and personal spend should be based on business priorities. For example, Mike works out of his home and hold meetings in public places like coffee spots to be as “lean” as possible.
- Proof of concept- Mike and Sam actually started testing the idea using twitter groups and text (cost $0.) Having a simple proof of concept stage forces you break down “key assumptions” then test these assumptions before you sink money into unrecoverable start-up costs.
- In 5-10 years, Mike sees TYS impacting millions of lives by helping people reach goals. Some people tip themselves for different reasons: taking lunch to work, getting out of Target without buying something or just ending the day by remembering a positive accomplishment, no matter how large or small.
Favorite Principle of Increase
- Small steps lead to big outcomes !