Small Business Credit Profiles

Life betterment and business venture collide

After clawing his way out of his childhood cult, Gary Coxe sought to better himself and the lives of others


Being a life coach is more difficult than many people might realize. But for Gary Coxe, it was his life’s calling and he did everything he could financially to ensure his business’s success.

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Gary Coxe

Gary Coxe

Life coaches make taking control of your life look easy, but it’s because they’re so good at their jobs. The founder of Beyond First Class with Gary, Gary Coxe, has made it his life’s mission to help others take control of their lives while boosting their confidence and overcoming any past traumas.

Headquartered in Lakeland, Florida, Coxe launched his business and life strategy company about 25 years ago, after attending an event held by the famous motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. His destiny was set; Coxe knew helping people lead better lives was what he wanted to do.

“I started connecting with the Ziglar promoters, pestering them until I eventually wore them out,” says Coxe. “Eight months later, I was on the stage with him.”

Coxe grew up in beautiful Jamaica – but his childhood wasn’t all sand and sun. A tumultuous upbringing in a Jamaican cult would give the life coach a rocky foundation, but he wouldn’t let that stop him. After clawing his way out, Coxe certainly had insight into the power of perseverance.

“Because I had been psychologically abused, I had a strong understanding of how people can manipulate others,” says Coxe. “When I left the cult, I studied the subject like crazy and came up with strategies to help people quickly get over their phobias. My purpose is to remove pain from peoples’ lives.”

With Beyond First Class with Gary, Coxe spirits away a few select clients on a private jet to a luxurious resort in the Bahamas for an all-inclusive day of intense private coaching. He also holds large scale, two-day day live events all over the globe, and is a regular guest on national shows like The Doctors.

However, getting the business up and running required money – a lot of it. A stack of credit cards was his initial ticket to success, and two accounts ensure Coxe continues his true calling.

See related: A life coach for businesses: How a business credit card helped create a new market

How did you finance the beginning of your business?

I started my business with $100,000 in cash advances from credit cards, spread out over 40 accounts. That’s where I got my financing.

If you believe in something enough and aren’t irrationally optimistic, you can make it happen. There was no plan B for me. I had way more time than money, however, and needed a large amount of cash flow. I couldn’t get a loan, so I got the most out of my credit cards. It definitely worked out for me!

See related:  How to minimize the cost of a cash advance

Were there any important costs that caught you off guard?

I quickly learned that you can’t run this type of business without an assistant. I once paid for one with a credit card when cash was tight. It was common sense because my employee enabled me to double my time and I didn’t hold on to the debt. There were times when paying the card off quickly was tough, but that’s entrepreneurship.

That was then – how do you treat credit cards now?

These days I use debit cards for many of my lower cost expenses, but the credit cards come out when I make major purchases. I have the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card  and an American Express® Business Gold Card.

Aviation is expensive! It costs me $5,000 just to fill up the plane with jet fuel, and that alone turns into huge rewards points on my credit cards.

I also charge all my business advertising, office expenses, food and hotel costs for myself and my team. I probably spend at least $100,000 with the cards annually. It’s strictly business, though. I have to get a return out of the process, and I pay the cards in full at the end of the term.

Do you delegate all your credit card account management?

Oh no, I get up very early and review my accounts regularly. In fact, I check my FICO scores monthly, so I always know where I am. It’s important. You have to personally monitor your credit.

Looking back, is there anything you’d like to do over?

No. Being raised in a cult put me at a disadvantage, but I consider every problem and hardship a lesson. I don’t have any regrets, though the hardest lessons were about hiring the right people. Lord have mercy, that was tough to learn!

What have you learned about borrowing money along the way?

I’ve borrowed too much in the past and couldn’t pay it all back, then I had to call the companies to renegotiate. They helped, which was great.

It’s really easy to overuse credit cards. They’re designed to make lenders a lot of money, but you can also use them the right way. It can be hard for the average person who hasn’t been educated about credit, and so many people don’t have their priorities in line. They try to keep up with the Joneses, and that’s just not the way to do it.

I learned that you have to make money work for you, not the other way around. The money you borrow has to be for a specific purpose that will get you ahead.

See related: Overcoming hardships by embracing financial independence

Can you offer any advice to entrepreneurs, as well as to anyone else who just wants a better life?

As simple as it sounds, understand what it means to never give up. Have the right people around you. Try to find people who play the game right and learn from them. I have consultants who are smarter than me. Don’t be shy about that. No man is an island. The number one false belief is, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” If you do that, you’ll never grow!

Regarding personal finances, if you can’t manage your personal affairs responsibly and are living in debt, don’t think you can manage your business finances any differently. If you’re not a saver or investor, or you live paycheck to paycheck, that’s the way your business will run, too. It’s all the same mentality, and you have to change it.

I want to emphasize that there is always a way to get something done.  If you want it badly enough, nothing will stop you – even financing. I have a massive pile of old credit cards to prove it!

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