Have you heard the concept of the broke millennial. If not, here is a breakdown: Those born between 1977-1995, who were somewhat enabled by their parents or guardians and are always challenging the status quo but seek instant gratification hence are heavily in debt so as to keep up with their unnecessary expenses. Too much?

Well with that background demystified, I recently had an epiphany and I’m convinced that there’s a growing number in what I can loosely dub as broke entrepreneurs. Not just here in Kenya but I’m sure some of these factors may be relatable wherever you are in the world.

Before I delve into these factors, it’s important to point out that I said broke not poor. Two different things.

1. Never have liquid cash

This would of course be the first sign. A broke entrepreneur may have stock, consistent sales but for some not so mysterious reason never has cash at hand to run the business or afford their lifestyle.

2. Borrow for most ventures

As a shadow of the previous point, this is a sad result and clear sign for the broke entrepreneurs. To add salt to injury, once the borrowed money is used as capital to create stock/sales, most of the money earned is simply used to pay the debt leaving the individual basically at square one. Sounds familiar?

3. Terrible credit score

This of course ripples further when the broke entrepreneur still has living expenses, day to day business expenses all the while borrowing Kamau to Otis. Consequently, a couple of loans may be defaulted and whether from a corporate lender or a once dear friend, you’ll find yourself on the dreaded CRB list.

4. Rich portfolio, poor accounts

This is a powerful and quite common trait among broke entrepreneurs. You’ll find an individual with amazing experiences, a wide network of fellow entrepreneurs or mentors within their respective niche but take a peek into their accounting books, and you will shudder. Some may actually fail to account for most of their sales because they haven’t properly separated personal life expenses from business expenses.

5. Clouded by the CEO title

I personally hate the CEO title simply because sometimes when it’s a one man’s show, the title alone limits what you really do. Unfortunately, for the broke entrepreneurs the CEO title is everything! It’s a step away from employment and being basic, taking control of your life and not answering to anyone.

Well I hate to break it to you but that’s what the motivational speakers tell you and it’s far from it. You can’t take pride in owning a business but fail to run it. You have to get your hands dirty. A business isn’t printing business cards and distributing them or attending events. You need a product/service, you need a revenue model, a defined sales or marketing channel or at least clientele that you can depend on when there’s a new release. See beyond the “glamour”.

6. Controlled by fear

Another potent sign of a broke entrepreneur, is their phobia. So many fears that drive them into decisions that they will obviously regret later. One such fear is lack of money which results in selling product not for profit but to make a quick buck. Thus controlled by demand as opposed to creating demand for products/services. Other fears are FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) which influences their unnecessary purchases and expensive taste in lifestyle choices.

7. Lacks a visionary business plan

This sign is probably an echo of the previous point. Broke entrepreneurs aren’t thinking big picture. Fears compounded with instant gratification results in a very toxic if not dangerous individual who will do what it take to stay afloat.


If all these signs check out fear not, life isn’t over. The fact that you’ve acknowledged/identified the traits means you’re at a place you’d like to step away from this defeated state.

Being a broke entrepreneur simply mean you let your poor financial skills govern both your business and life. You can check out this article to figure how to get out of that hole and move ahead. I hope this article gave you an AHA! moment.