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    • CDTV Launch! March 30, 2011
        Credit Dusters has just launched our interactive television show. The network is called CDTV and it will start out with a daily show about all things credit. You can go there now…tv.creditdusters.com.
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    • New VW and Other Purchases I Didn’t Make June 4, 2008
      It seems strange considering my profession.  I recently pulled a copy of my credit report through the credit watch service  I am a member of.  I needed to purchase a car so I wanted to see where my scores stood and shop for the best interest rate.  To my surprise I had purchased a brand new […]
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    • Loan Modification – The Best Chance for Success April 30, 2008
      This week we are discussing a painful, but important situation that a lot of American consumers are facing. It is so scary to think that you might lose your home, but we want you to know that there is hope. We want to be a resource to those folks because we have been there and […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter IV – The Final Verse April 25, 2008
      My family lives in a small, rural town in Southern Indiana. We are surrounded by a soy bean field with hundreds of sprawling acres across the street and a large lake that adjoins our property in the back. Sounds nice, right? Why am I so discontented?What is it that continues to drive me toward always […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter III – The Endless Road April 24, 2008
      I began writing about the subject as a result of my daughter and I going on a field trip to our county 4-H last week. All the modern day farmers talking about raising chickens, cows, rabbits, and living off the land made me yearn for a life like that. This is my journey…The truth is […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter II – What’s in the Box? April 23, 2008
      In his book, Halftime, author and successful businessman Bob Buford comments on the purpose of money in the following manner: Mike Kiami is a strategic planning consultant. He is brilliant. He is intuitive. He is demanding. He slices through all the pretense and posturing, and hones in on the core. He does not believe in […]
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    • Beauty In Simplicity – Chapter 1 April 22, 2008
      “Stop this train, I want to get off!” – Vanilla Ice Yesterday I touched on the fact that I am soul searching for the simple life. My wife and I used to think the Amish had the answer. I now know, as I mentioned, that I do not have to buy a farm and work […]
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    • A Rabbit Meat Shortage, The American Consumer, and Something About The Simple Life April 21, 2008
      I went on a field trip with my 3rd grade daughter this past week to our county 4-H. I learned a lot about farm animals. It was quite amazing because I saw the farmer of today and even with all the modern technology, (like a $280K combine that has a stereo, GPS system, and two seats) it […]
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    • How To Not Blow Your Tax Refund April 2, 2008
      In my previous post I wrote about the importance of filing even when you owe. Today I am going to give some helpful tips on preparing for your refund. Whether you are getting $500.00 or $5000.00 it is human nature to spend your money two or three times before it even hits the bank. I would encourage […]
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    • How To Proactively Protect Your Identity March 26, 2008
      Freecreditdusters.com has a great article on ID Theft – Check it out
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Beauty in Simplicity Chapter III – The Endless Road

I began writing about the subject as a result of my daughter and I going on a field trip to our county 4-H last week. All the modern day farmers talking about raising chickens, cows, rabbits, and living off the land made me yearn for a life like that. This is my journey…The truth is that money gives you options. This truth infects all of us. My son who has birthday money, runs around Wal-mart like a tycoon, my kids demand a family vacation when summer hits, and I want to be blogging on the beach. Beach Blogger? It has a nice sound!

So there is no doubting the power of money. It is intoxicating when you have it and frustrating to the point of madness when you don’t. So, what is wrong with money? There is nothing wrong with money – It is the incessant need and desire for it that is the problem.

If we are really honest with ourselves, we believe money gives us a life without worry. Yet we exchange the lack of worry for something much more sinister and that is a lack of satisfaction. When we have money we have so many options that we are no longer satisfied with what would have blown us away before. I have found that to be the case in my own life. Suddenly the Honda Accord (which is a great car) pales in comparison to a BMW. Why? You could say performance and better handling, but the truth is that we want more than we can really afford. We are always pushing the envelope.

This is why I am struggling so deeply with the concept of simplicity. I secretly do not want to be simple because then no one will notice me. My wife and I own a business so there is a certain perception with that. We get the questions like: “Did you guys move?” “I saw your new car! (It’s not new, except to us.)”

The truth is we are dealing with the same issues that every new, small business struggles with. Survival is the word of the day. Perception is everything though. So we continue down the road – choosing the one less traveled and wondering if we made the right choice.

 

Beauty in Simplicity Chapter II – What’s in the Box?

In his book, Halftime, author and successful businessman Bob Buford comments on the purpose of money in the following manner:

Mike Kiami is a strategic planning consultant. He is brilliant. He is intuitive. He is demanding. He slices through all the pretense and posturing, and hones in on the core. He does not believe in God but I can testify that – at least in my life – God worked unmistakably through Mike Kiami.

I went to Mike because I wanted him to do for my life what he does so well for business: Draw up a strategic plan. I needed him to show me how to live so I was not plagued by a growing sense that I was missing out. I was not sure what I was missing, and I wanted him to tell me.

I went to Mike with tons of questions: What should I do with my life? How could I be more useful? Where should I invest my time, talents and treasures? What is the overarching vision that shapes me? Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? How do I get there?

In this blizzard of wonderment, Mike asked me a simple, penetrating question: “What’s in the box?” This from a high paid strategic planner?I didn’t have a clue as to what he was getting at and asked him to fill me in.

“I can’t put together an honest plan for your life until I identify the mainspring. I’ve been listening to you for a couple of hours, trying to figure out what’s in your box. It’s either money or Jesus Christ. If you can tell me which one it is, I can tell you the strategic planning implications of that choice. If you can’t tell me, your going to bounce between those two values and be confused.”

No one had ever put such a significant question to me so directly. And he was right. I was highly motivated to serve Jesus, but I also was driven to be financially successful. I believed the two went hand in hand and in a way they do. But the reason I had such an unsettled feeling deep within was that I had tried to put two things in my box.

 

Beauty In Simplicity – Chapter 1

“Stop this train, I want to get off!” – Vanilla Ice

Yesterday I touched on the fact that I am soul searching for the simple life. My wife and I used to think the Amish had the answer. I now know, as I mentioned, that I do not have to buy a farm and work the land in order to embrace a life of simplicity.

We all yearn in some way to get off the roller coaster. This life is going way too fast. The highs are way too high and the lows…well that’s for another post. It does help that Laura and I have our own company and we are able to set the pace, which we have, but it goes so much deeper than that. Anyone can set their own pace.

I am learning that there is a lot of work in achieving simplicity. You are going against the culture of working till late at night to get the car (Lexus SC430, anyone?), the big house (Is it on a golf course?), and all the latest trappings. I feel as if I have to daily reboot my hard drive so as not to get caught up in the emotions and desires of consumer America.

We have had friends “upgrade” to that life and we have watched them become isolated from what really matters. I am not anti-wealth. The question is and will always be in my mind, “What price am I willing to pay for it?”

Is it ever enough?

John D. Rockefeller was asked by a reporter when he was at the pinnacle of wealth and late in his years, “How much is enough?” and John D. in startling honesty said simply, “Just a little more.”

What else needs to be said?

A Rabbit Meat Shortage, The American Consumer, and Something About The Simple Life

I went on a field trip with my 3rd grade daughter this past week to our county 4-H. I learned a lot about farm animals. It was quite amazing because I saw the farmer of today and even with all the modern technology, (like a $280K combine that has a stereo, GPS system, and two seats) it felt like going back in time.

Did you know that there is a shortage of rabbit meat in America? I didn’t either. According to the rabbit farmer I spoke with yesterday, he told me the demand is so high he can’t keep up. He told me of a girl in Kentucky who made 10k last year simply raising rabbits. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I am sure it was not her full time job.

We can make money doing pretty much anything. I heard a gentleman who called in to the Dave Ramsey Radio Show and said he had cleared $150k starting a dog poop clean up business for wealthy individuals. That amazed me.

How is it that we as American’s can live in the richest country in the world and yet we as consumers have achieved a negative savings ratio? I am in that lot. I often see myself as a child in the toy store, demanding that my mother buy me the latest gadget and throwing a tantrum if she dares say, “No!”

So how do we transition out of such a mindset? I have learned the hard way, it’s not about your income. The more money I make the more I spend. The restaurant name changes from McDonalds to Ruby Tuesday’s.

I have some ideas that have worked for my wife and I over the last couple years.

1. Use cash only. When McDonalds began taking credit cards I heard their average per order revenue almost doubled. My wife and I struggle with this even using our debit card. I use the card to fill up the gas tank and forget to tell her. We go out to eat and in the hurry of it all we fail to write down the receipt amount. Next thing you know we have three Overdrafts at $30 bucks a pop. Ouch! We have decided to just use cash. We take out a certain amount at the beginning of the week and use it till it’s gone.

2. Consider the cost. This is one my favorites. I used to be a compulsive shopper. I would buy something just to fill that empty void somewhere. It is a scary place because you realize you are just buying “stuff”. Now, I have gone the opposite way. I usually wait and wait before buying anything. Sometimes I never buy it at all. It is a great feeling to not be tied to an emotional chain. When you are making a purchase I would recommend waiting 24 hours before actually buying it. Try it out with the small stuff first and then when the major purchases come you will already have the “Wait” muscle flexed and ready.

3. Savings. Can we move to number 4 now? Wow! This is a tough one. My wife and I struggle with this even today. There is no excuse – there just always seems to be something that needs to be done. Is this reality or is it just our perception that we feel as if we have done without for so long. We as Americans have no real clue about what it means to be poor.

4. Write a plan. Laura and I love to make lists and notes. We are weird, but it does work. It clarifies the soul and lets you know where you stand.

As you can tell this is a continuous work in progress at our house. We don’t have all the answers, but we are working through it, and that, I believe, makes all the difference. I am not sure I have to buy a farm to experience the simple life. I think it’s a mindset. My wife already said she would not let me buy Rabbits. Something about there was no way she was going to eat Thumper. What do you think?

A weekend of reflection

Sunday night our pastor gave the most amazing lesson. This answered a lot of questions for me about where we are as an organization and where I believe God is taking us.

He told a story from II Kings 4:1 – 7. The story is of a woman who’s husband died and left his family with no money and a lot of debt. She owed so much money that the creditors were going to enslave her and her two sons. She cried out for help from Elisha a prophet of the Lord. Elisha could have easily paid off her debt, but instead he asked her questions. He asked her what she had in the house. It must of seemed like a very odd and angering question to her. She was in great need and had nothing, yet here was this man of God asking her what she had in the house.

She answered him in verse 2 – “Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.” – all she had to her name was a pot of oil. Elisha told her to go to all her neighbors and borrow as many empty vessels as she could find. She did this and Elisha then told her to take the pot of oil and pour it into the empty vessels. She has so much oil that she asked her sons to go get more vessels and they said that there were none. The bible says in verse 6 – 7 – “There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then she came and told the man of god. And he said, Go, sell  the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and they children of the rest.” (KJV) – Elisha told her to go start her own business to get out of debt. She had plenty of oil to sell and enough to live on for the rest of her and her childrens life. Amazing. How great is our God!

The story is an amazing picture of our faith. We do not think that we have anything to give. We believe that we do not have any talents. We are tired and worn out by stress and fear. Yet God has given us something to do in this life…what is our purpose? What is your purpose? Is it to grow up, make money, and die?

The purpose of Credit Dusters is to give hope for those who have little or no hope. To help them find their purpose. I wondered how Credit Repair fits into that. Most people do not have money issues – Americans do not know what it means to truly want. Most people have issues with belief. They doubt their own abilities and lack the faith to see what the possibilities truly are before them.

Have a great week.

 Matt Sullivan, CEO / Credit Dusters, Inc.

Believe in Blue (You)?

No one saw it coming…I mean No One…except for Kentucky. In July of this year sports writer Steve Moline of Kentucky Ink (http://www.kentuckyink.com), wrote: “This is the 2nd (LSU) of 3 games that the Cats will be expected to lose by a big margin. There would be no bigger upset possible on the schedule.

 

The upset happened. The cats played without three of their best players and yet still came out on top in triple overtime against top ranked LSU. So how did this happen? How do you take a team that no one really expects much from and turn them into winners? Is it world class talent? Sure, but that is expected at this level. A great game plan? Absolutely! However, you can have a great plan and still lose.

So what separates the men from the boys? One word – BELIEF! Head Coach Rich Brooks began the season with the mantra of Believe In Blue. Nobody really noticed, but the players did. They bought into it. They bought into it with all their heart. Eyebrows raised when Kentucky tromped Louisville in the season opener. That was not supposed to happen! The irony of it all was that Kentucky got a quick pat on the back, and then buzzed about Louisville. What is wrong with Louisville? They just had a bad day. Hmmmm. Bad day?

 

Belief is the key. Just like Kentucky, in business you have to focus in with laser beam intensity on the game at hand and play with grit and raw determination. There is no quit – there is no alternative to this business. There is only win. So yes…no one in the market right now expects you to win. Everyone anticipates failure because of all the bad news and tough guidelines. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to quit? Or is there more…will you buy into Belief – Will you have what it takes to make it under extreme pressure and adversity? The bills are coming due again this month – how am I going to make it? How will I survive another month?

 

Believe in you! This is not a motivational speech – this is reality. If you believe in you then people will believe in you. Your team will believe in you. Your clients will believe in you and want to work with you because of your confidence. They are looking to you to assure them that they are making the right choice. Your clients and referral partners want to believe in you. Give them a reason. Make them think they are going to be missing out on something big if they do not do business with you.

 

So when you are making your calls today – make them with confidence! You have the answers. It is all going to work out and you will come through the fire and be the person that God wants you to be.

 

Best of Luck,

 

Matt Sullivan, CEO

Credit Dusters, Inc.

E. matt@creditdusters.com

W. http://www.creditdusters.com

Blog: http://www.creditdusters.wordpress.com

What, then, about the future

“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” – Thomas Carlyle