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Creating Financial Opportunities & Cash Flow with Katie Burckhardt on Money Loves Women

In the latest *Money Loves Women* episode, Dr. Ekstrom and Katie Burckhardt discuss career advancement and financial freedom. Learn key tips, 401(k) financing insights, and strategies for business success.
Katie Burckhardt on Dr. Deborah Ekstrom's Money Loves Women podcast (Guidant Blog).

Women make up many of the small business owners thriving in the marketplace today. In fact, 13 million of the 33.2 million small businesses in the United States today are women-owned, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Small business is the “engine that runs our economy,” according to Dr. Deborah Ekstrom, Founder and CEO of Money Loves Women. In a recent episode of Money Loves Women, Dr. Ekstrom sits down with Business Growth Officer Katie Burckhardt from Guidant Financial to dive deep into the world of career advancement and financial freedom.

Katie gives her key tips and insights to increase cash flow as well as explores the topic of 401(k) financing — also known as Rollovers for Business Startups — and she dispels myths and sheds light on this business funding option. In this blog, we’ll highlight key insights from Katie’s episode on the Money Loves Woman podcast. (Watch the podcast episode below.)

Identifying Financial Opportunities

Katie’s childhood began in Minnesota and shaped the woman she is today. Seeing her parents’ Midwestern work ethic and hearing about their financial goals helped her think about financial opportunities in life. Though not wealthy, her parents made smart financial decisions, even purchasing real estate in Minnesota. “Just as work was discussed at the dinner table, so were finances,” Katie says.

Katie then went on to the University of Minnesota and ultimately went to work in television broadcasting. She credits learning about hard work to the media field (in addition to learning it from her parents), because it wasn’t the most lucrative career financially but it required hard work. However, she learned that transferable skills like working with people, problem-solving, making decisions, being accountable, and more could help her grow her career and impact the business world as she identified financial opportunities throughout her career.

Looking to fund a business or franchise? Explore the 7 Best Options for Small Business Funding.

Using Retirement Funds for Business Startups

Today, Katie works for Guidant Financial and notes that using retirement funds for business startups — otherwise known as Rollovers for Business Startups — is an increasingly popular funding method. ROBS been around for several decades, but recently more and more business owners are taking advantage of ROBS. Katie says Guidant sees more than 1,200 new businesses start annually, and the company serves many entrepreneurs between the ages of 40 and 60 who have worked in the corporate world and are now ready to be their own bosses.

Katie points out that most Guidant clients roll over around $270,000 on average with ROBS to start their businesses. In other words, you don’t need to be a billionaire — or even a millionaire — to start a business with ROBS. Rollovers are quick, too — often taking about 30 days on average, making it a relatively short time-to-financing option.

Many retirement accounts are eligible for ROBS, and you don’t need collateral or perfect credit to start your business cash-rich and debt-free.

When it comes to women and ROBS, however, Katie notes, citing Guidant’s 2024 Small Business Trends study, “Only [about] 20 percent of the businesses are women-owned.” She hopes to see more women small business owners take advantage of ROBS whether to start a new business or finance a franchise. 

Acquiring franchises is another way to utilize ROBS. “Franchises are exceptional, and the ROBS is commonly known in the world of franchising. Over 60 percent of the clients we serve are opening a franchise,” she adds.

With training programs and marketing support, franchising is sometimes an easier way to get your foot in the door of entrepreneurship, Katie and Dr. Ekstrom note. 

Learn more about Rollovers for Business Startups (ROBS) in What is ROBS? How 401(k) Business Financing Works.

Finding Side Gigs Pays Off

As your passion doesn’t always pay as much as you’d hope, Katie often found financial opportunities on the side if she wasn’t making the money she wanted in her full-time roles. 

She notes her resourcefulness paid off when it came to finding side gigs to add income and achieve her financial goals. They may not have always been what some women would see as a perfect match, but that didn’t stop Katie — and shouldn’t stop other women, too. 

“We know women expect to be a 100 percent match — and you can’t be.” But, she notes that if she didn’t know something, she was resourceful and would figure it out. “Don’t be afraid to make a decision and be accountable. When you’re accountable, you’ll make the right pivot and get stuff going in the right direction.”

Women in Tech Today

Katie shares there are few women in the tech startup industry today, although that number is increasing — and hopefully will continue to increase in the future. 

Katie is always seeking out growth opportunities, and being a mentor at Tech Stars gives her an opportunity to grow and help rising tech founders who are looking for coaching and financing, as well as a tech-minded community and resources.

Each year, Tech Stars analyzes tech startups and chooses approximately 10 businesses that gain exposure to mentors who have started businesses; investors; and education and seed money. These tech startup founders are constantly learning in this process, and Katie works with them to determine how they want to market their business, what sales tools they’ll use, and more. At the end of the three-month period, these founders complete a pitch to market investors to see if they will receive money to take their business to the next level.

Katie hopes more women will get involved in tech and Tech Stars, as it’s a smart way to gain opportunities and break into the historically male sector. 

Helping Women Find Financial Freedom 

All women can secure financial freedom and professional success in their lives with a little purpose, proactive growth-seeking, and financial opportunity.

Be a contributor, and don’t be afraid to speak up,” advises Katie. She adds, “Put yourself out there when there’s an opportunity; don’t hold back or wait for a 100% match. If you have the work ethic and resourcefulness, go for it.

If you’re looking to achieve your financial goals by starting a small business or franchise, Guidant Financial can help. With innovative funding solutions and tailored support, Guidant has helped fund over 30,000 small businesses across the U.S., empowering entrepreneurs to turn their dreams into reality.

Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

Daniella Cornue, a smiling woman with black long hair. Owner of Le Village Co Work, a small business in Chicago.

“I knew that I needed a funding partner that would be a reflection of the community we are trying to serve — and that is really where Guidant shines.”

Daniella Cornue, Le Village Cowork

Read the stories of REAL small business owners who work with Guidant.

Want to Use ROBS to Start a Business?

Our step-by-step Guide to Rollovers for Business Startups is a complete handbook of everything you need to know about using ROBS to start or buy a small business or franchise.

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