Welcome to the very first Financial Independence Europe podcast interview! A huge honour to be interviewing Barbara Lampl, one of the top three female German fintech influencers, owner of a successful fintech consulting company and veteran startup investor. Yes, a pretty big deal. Mathias met her in a FinTech meetup in Cologne and had the great idea to do the interview – and thank God he did because Barbara has some banging advice for fellow European FIers.
We recommend listening to the episode, but if you’re feeling a little lazy here’s a nice summary for you:
How do you know when you’re FI?
This is indeed a FI podcast, so our two interviewees immediately hammered Barbara with FI questions. The first: What is FI? She explains that the definition of FI has been changing over the years; to some it may mean earning passive income, to others it may mean owning several businesses. Barbara’s first move towards FI was starting a consulting business and developing different sources of income from investments and real estate. So to her, FI simply means being able to make decisions on what she wants, without having to worry about a FI number. The freedom of choice: do I want to work? What do I want to work on? When do I want to work? For this reason it’s a little hard to calculate your FI number; it depends on what you want your FI life to look like.
On one hand, Barbara is FI: she’s working for herself, doing something she loves and earning good money. But if her business disappeared, so would the FI life (she says she could survive 2 years) – so on the other hand, she isn’t so FI. As we can see, financial freedom is an extremely subjective thing. I may not look like FI to other people, but I could still consider myself financially independent.
So her plan to achieve another level of FI (one without depending on her business) is to build up capital and manage assets on the side, so as to be able to retire from work early and reach FIRE (financial independence, retire early). Which brings me on to the next point of the episode…
What to do about the investing
Barbara is a top influencer in FinTech and she wants to reach FI – there’s definitely going to be some investing involved. She calls her portfolio: FU money, meaning she can do whatever the f*** she wants with it. It’s got ETFs, equity, cryptocurrencies, commodities and even some trading!
But what she loves most is funding other businesses – startup SMEs mostly. She focuses on the small ones and uses crowdinvesting through her ‘old-school’ contacts and meetups. She’s a veteran of the startup world, and has several of her own. Which means her portfolio includes all the snazzy stuff mentioned before, plus startup investments. An exciting mix.
Which then brings me to the next point…
Business starting tips
Barbara is a startup veteran and has a consulting company – perfect person to ask advice about starting companies. And we got some good ones:
- When starting a company, find a problem and then create a solution, not the other way round.
- The money comes in marketing and sales – no one will just find you, you need to put yourself out there.
- Be old school: see what others are doing, talk to people, do some test
- Start lean: don’t start spending a lot of money when building a business – no need for a tax consultant, website designer, etc; you don’t know enough about your customer yet, you want to wait (Barbara started with a Tumblr website!!)
- Be patient – you learn a lot on the way
In this very first interview of our FI Europe podcast we got to see the FI world from the angle of a successful consulting business owner, why FI is a subjective thing and some tips on starting your own business.
The important stuff:
- FI is about having the freedom to choose to work on what you want
- FI is subjective – you may define it differently than other people
- Investing is essential to reach FI: get a nice mixture of everything (yes even crypto!) in your portfolio
- Starting a business is about finding a problem, the solution will come later
- You don’t need a lot of money to get started, forget about hiring fancy people
- You make mistakes and you learn a lot, that’s why a business is your life
The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
Great at Work by Mark T Hanson
Have a question? Want to be interviewed? Send over an email at: financialindependenceeurope at gmail dot com and we’ll be happy to respond.
Also, any ounce of support is very helpful and encouraging (especially as a new podcast)!