Too many new business owners in our community are beneficiaries of what you could only describe as free money. A generous grant, loan (or series of loans) coming directly from beneficiary with very little pressure to repay doesn’t exactly inspire sensible financial management.And if you’ve never seen money in your life, of course it’s going to run through your fingers like grains of sand. Easy come, easy go. This happening all the time: a repeating pattern of start-ups that come out of nowhere, make some waves... then disappear just as quickly.On the other hand, a real entrepreneur who funded themselves and built something out of nothing without anyone’s help...this kind of individual tends to be much better at keeping money in the bank..They know the value of a Pula, and they pay themselves accordingly.If you want your startup to survive and be sustainable, the simple rule is this: PAY YOURSELF AS LITTLE AS YOU CAN. Especially in the early years.Yes, I said years.During this time, the modest amount of capital you have saved (or borrowed) is better spent on attracting new customers than on paying yourself. After all, you own the business. It's your show. Any growth, at any stage benefits you, first and foremost. But if you squandering your money on cars, holidays and weddings, you starve the operation of what it needs to succeed. So live extremely cheaply. No matter how well the business is doing and what the neighbours are thinking. This trade-off should make sense..Remember: your goal is to build a great business.If you are waist deep in the beautiful process of doing exactly that, why do you even care what car you drive? If you’re benefiting from government funding, have an open conversation with your financier about how much you need to survive.Remember: your needs increase as you get older. The salary you draw from the business must be enough to cover your family's basic needs, but it should also be limited enough to remind you to be careful with your money on a daily basis..Feel like a raise? Then earn it.Commit to a real goal-setting process with its own targets, action plan and timelines attached. What milestones might trigger an incremental increase in your salary?Look for a revenue target that will both satisfy your material desires without holding the business back from reaching its full potential.If you pay yourself too much now, you will ultimately regret it. Less is more.Your friend.