Podcast Ep. 18: Lessons from Two Years of Self-Employment
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Episode 18: Lessons from Two Years of Self-Employment
Over the last two years, I've learned a ton from owning my own business. In this week's episode, I talk about the biggest takeaways I've had from the first two years of Transformative Financial.
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION
00:00 Okay, welcome to the Invest In Your Life Podcast, the show where we explore the connection between personal growth and personal finance. My name is Patrick King and in each episode we'll talk about what you can do to live a life that's truly rich. Don't take this the wrong way, but I am not giving you advice. I only give advice to clients who have hired me to be their fiduciary financial advisor. If you're not one of those folks, then just consider this to be helpful tips and information and be sure to consult with your financial advisor, your attorney, your CPA, your which doctor or your mom before you try this at home.
01:00 Welcome to the episode everybody. Thank you for being here today. I've got a great show for you. Transformative Financial is two years old and in today's episode, I want to share the lessons I've learned from being self-employed over the last two years. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday when I started my business and in others it seems like it was forever ago. But before we get into all of that, I want to let you know about the No Bullshit Guide to Investing. You know, I'm always approached by folks who are, especially starting out, they'll not have a lot of money to invest, maybe can't afford to engage with a financial planner like me. You know, hey, where can they get started in investing? It's a question I'm always asked and I've been a little frustrated that I haven't been able to figure out a good way up until now to serve those folks.
02:01 So to do that, I created an online course just to learn the fundamentals of investing. You know, if you don't have $1 million and you don't need something nuanced and you don't need professional money management, you know, the basics still apply. So for those folks, I've created this online course, the No Bullshit Guide to Investing. And for a limited time, I'm giving it away to podcast listeners for free. That's right. There's over an hour and a half of video content along with get-started guides that are available for you to download. So, if you don't have millions of dollars, like some of my clients, the underlying principles are still the same and it's free. All I ask in return is that you give me some candid feedback on the course. I've been doing investment management and financial planning for a long time now, but this is my first online course, so I'd love to hear what you think about it and I'd love for you to tell two people about the podcast and that's it. That's all I ask. Enjoy the course. I hope you get something out of it. Go to www.investinyourlifepodcast.com, head over to the resources section and the No Bullshit Guide to Investing. And when you get to check out, use the Promo code, TELL2 to access it for free. I hope you enjoy it. All right, enough of that. Let's get started with the show.
03:44 Okay. Gratitude for today. Today I'm grateful for good sleep. I've struggled with sleep my entire life. I had sleep apnea, even as a kid. And a good night's sleep has been something that was very elusive for me over the years. I've even had a couple of surgeries to help correct some of the sleep apnea issues. And over the weekend I was in Charleston. We rented an AirBNB. We had a lot of fun down there except for the curtains on the bedroom were totally sheer. So, when the sun came up in the morning, I guess I did too. It was no sleeping, sleeping in the light, just woke us right on up. So, I'm grateful to be back home and have blackout curtains and good sleep hygiene as they say, and to feel rested again. So that's my gratitude for today. Good sleep. So underrated.
04:53 Okay. Let's get started with the topic of the day. Two years of Transformative Financial, which is my firm, to do financial planning and investment management. And for today's episodes, I want to share the lessons that I've learned over the last two years of self-employment. It's the first time I've worked for myself ever in my career. So, there have been some lessons to be learned as an entrepreneur as you would expect. So let's dive in. The first lesson that I want to share with you is that self-care is absolutely crucial to being self-employed. I'm still learning this lesson in a lot of ways. You know, when I started my own business, you know, I had this idea that it would be fantastic and it and it has been and that I would have all this time to get in incredible shape. I would be eating right and exercising all the time.
05:54 That's funny. I have had a lot of time but the self-care piece, there's a lot of lot of stress I think that made having that idea of a super healthy self-employment, very difficult. It's way too easy to work way too hard. It's so easy to push and put off those self-care items in the effort to grow the business. A stress can manifest itself in many, many different ways. That causes a has caused me like -- I'm going to phrase this in first person -- it caused me to neglect some of those self-care items along the way, whether it be not eating right or stress eating or you name it -- skipping exercise or pushing too hard with exercise. That's another thing too. I would try to go to CrossFit five days a week or something crazy like that. It's probably bad idea. So yeah, life has its pendulum. Sometimes it's easy to push and create. Other times the pendulum wants to swing the other way and you need to relax into that. That's part of that self-care: relaxing, so you can be fresh at applying yourself is a lesson that I needed to learn.
07:23 But that's part of the self-care equation. So, self-care is absolutely critical. That's item number one. The number two thing I want to share is that working from home can be like living in a hall of mirrors. Yeah. Getting up and working in your PJ's every day sounds great, but whoa, there Speed Racer, there's a lot more to it than that, you know? After a while that gets old and it gets weird and you need to interact with other human beings. And then after so many years of working in an office environment and corporate environments, I still feel guilty sometimes if I wake up and I don't have appointments outside and I put on some shorts and a t-shirt to work. I feel weird about this to this day and that's, that's something between my ears. Another thing that I noticed that is that I had no idea how much I talked to my dog, when Dugg E. Fresh was still alive.
08:31 It got weird, especially when he passed away, that I didn't have a whole lot of folks to talk to. So, it could be incredibly lonely sometimes working for yourself and working from home. Working from home at night can be very dangerous. It can sneak up on you. And this goes back to item one, self-care. You don't realize how much you work and that, and I'll get into this a little bit later, but that “culture of hustle” that exists in the entrepreneur space right now, it can be very dangerous. And working from home and having no set schedule, it can sneak up on you in, in new and interesting ways. I'll just leave it at that. But because it's my company, I never give myself credit for working so much more incredibly productively than I worked when I worked as a W-2 employee for someone else.
09:34 So, it's easy to go hard on yourself and think I could have worked harder today when in fact, if it's your company, no one's going to work harder than you. So, that factors into that working from home issue. So, that's been a difficult thing to learn. Another thing, this is a little bit more positive lesson, is that learning from the best is worth every penny. I had the opportunity to work with the Limitless Advisor Coaching Program and it was a bit of a stretch for me to join this. It wasn't cheap. Quality help is never cheap, right? You get what you pay for, but I got so much more out of it. They created so much more value than what I signed up with and struck the check for. It really, really turbocharge the growth of my firm.
10:30 They helped me build out incredible processes. And also, the personal coaching that I had along the way was absolutely crucial and making all of this work. So, learning from the best – worth every penny. And so that leads me to the next item. I couldn't have done it without support from people who believe in me. Not only did the Limitless crew and my personal coach and personal coaching group, my fellows in there, not only did they help me pull all of this together, it was my family and my close friends that I, if I had not had their support, this couldn't have happened. It just couldn't have happened. And now my girlfriend, her having done the entrepreneur route, gone that way before in the past. Man, she was an incredible resource for me as I started to navigate the space of owning your own business.
11:34 I mentioned my coach and my coaching group. A lot of them are, are a lot of those guys are business owners. So helpful. And then of course my clients, my first clients that believed in me enough to sign up. Love that. Couldn't have done it without having their encouragement. I just have a lot of gratitude for all of those people that believed in me and have helped make this happen. It's been amazing. So what else? What else have I learned? Marketing can be a descent into madness. You know, early on, working with a lot of these advisor groups, I'm in what's called the XY Planning Network. It's a consortium of fee-only advisors, real financial advisors that also work with Gen X and Gen Y clients – not exclusively retirees. It's a good group and they are very big on picking a niche.
12:36 There's, there's actually a phrase that people bounced around called, “there's riches in the niches.” Uh, so there was a lot of pressure from good people, smart people for me to niche down and, and I’ve attempted to do that in some of the content that I bring. But I try less to define what it is and let other people define that for them and just being me. And that's what brings me to the next point in the whole marketing thing is, instead of trying to be authentic, I can just be authentic and just be myself. I'm not going to be for everyone. I don't need that. I just need to be me. Technically, I know this business inside and out, but there's so much trying in marketing that it can be a descent into madness.
13:30 You know, things will happen at their own pace. There's always the temptation to try to hack some sort of growth. But there's a quote that I've found and I try to keep it in my mind, it's “Nature never rushes yet everything gets done.” And the quote is from Donald Hicks. And I try to keep that in mind as I'm trying to grow the firm. As you would expect a plant to grow things start small. Things may not exactly rush into the final idea of what, you know, maybe I want this firm to be, but it's moving. Things move at their own pace. So yeah, that brings me to the next point. Building a business isn't for the impatient. You know, I mentioned Annelle a minute ago, but she warned me up front that it was probably going to take twice as long and cost twice as much as my projections. And she was absolutely right.
14:32 Oh my goodness. Yeah. So, it's not for the faint of heart. It's not for the uncommitted. But fortunately, I've been those things. You know, the flip side of that is working off adrenaline can be dangerous. You know, I mentioned the pendulum of life. Sometimes you have to obey those times where things get done and then those times to take a step back and relax, catch your breath, reset your mind. The hustle culture, man. I'll do love Gary Vee. I love Gary Vee and he brings a lot of great ideas to the table, but you know, the idea of getting up at four in the morning and answering social media stuff and all of that, I'm sure that works, but gosh, I'm just not going to do that. Like, I really need eight hours. I'm one of those eight hours people.
15:26 Oh my gosh. The bill always comes due if you push yourself or too hard for too long. I learned that earlier this year where I tried to come out of the gates strong and I pushed so hard in February that I kind of had a hangover in March a little and that was a hard lesson to learn. But I learned it, nonetheless. So, I've been much gentler on myself as far as trying to get things done and then letting things relax. The next thing, money mindset issues impact me too. I saved up plenty of cash up-front to bridge the gap while things got started. And it was very difficult for me to not look at that pile of money as I was dipping into it over time to cover the gap. So, when I talk to people about money mindset issues, I hate to come at it from an authoritative – you know, I've dealt with this for a long time, but I hate to be authoritative to the point where folks think I don't deal with these same issues.
16:37 I do. I do. It's good to recognize what they are and I knew that I was going to bump up against it and sure enough I did. So yeah, it's super hard to stay out of a scarcity mentality in those situations. So, that's been something I've had to watch. I knew it was coming. It was kind of, it was a lesson I had to learn. Fortunately, it wasn't one of those hard lessons I had to learn, but yeah, money mindset stuff. The stuff that I work with my clients on, I have to deal with the same stuff too. All of us, all of us do. We can't escape it. It's part of the deal. But on the flip side of that, another thing that I learned was that I'm way better than at this then I gave myself credit for. My from processes are so much more solid than some of the firms that I've worked for in the past.
17:30 And these are big, big firms. I'm so grateful that I invested in building my infrastructure out, my processes, my philosophy and the back-end software stuff, CRM system rebalancing software, custodial software, portfolio reporting software that I've leveraged. I'm so, so grateful that I built that up on the back end. So, now when clients come on, it's a much easier experience for everybody, myself included. And yeah, the confidence that I've gained from being in this coaching program, the Limitless Advisor Coaching Program, to know that I'm standing shoulder to shoulder with the best of the financial planning industry in this country. And yeah, I came to a realization earlier this year that, hey, if I'm in the group among them, I am one of them. So, the confidence I got from that was tremendous. And then the results that I've gotten for clients over the last couple of years saved a lot of money in taxes for clients.
18:41 And I've organized things I've given them – I don't, you know, who knows what it's going to be for each individual client, but I feel like I've delivered value for every single one of my clients in the last two years that I've been in business. And then I mentioned it a second ago, another thing I've learned is that leverage, leverage, leverage is important. The XY Planning Network helped me launch my firm, helped me with compliance, TD Ameritrade, and iRebal software, the custodian software you're – I don't possess, I don't actually take any of my clients’ assets. TD Ameritrade has those. And that's what every financial advisor does: use a third-party custodian or else you get into Bernie Madoff territory. That's no bueno, right? So, between TD Ameritrade, software resources, like iRebal, Orion advisor services, I use a FA Bean Counters for my back-end bookkeeping, Smart RIA for compliance, Squarespace, Active Campaign, Calendly. There’s a ton of great resources that allow hundreds of advisors like me who are independent to compete with the big firms out there. It's really kind of a cool world we live in where all of this is possible. So leverage, leverage, leverage, definitely a big learning point for me. And then last but not least, invest in a laser printer instead of an ink jet. You know, of all stupid things that ink jet printer just couldn't get the job done, didn't look good. Should have bought that laser printer right up front.
20:40 Oh my goodness. And that's it. That's it for this week. I'm not going to have any Pura Vida this week. I've already done that in a prior episode. Super psyched. Let me know if you've started a business, what were the big takeaways that you had? What were the big deals that you learned over that period of time, and then for future episodes with some Q&A, what would you like to hear about? Hit me up, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the website, www.investinyourlifepodcast.com for the free resources. There, the No Bullshit Guide to Investing is free for podcast listeners, use the promo code, TELL2, and yeah, tell to people about the podcast. That's all I ask. So that's it. Thanks for listening this week and until next time, cheers. Thank you for joining me today to find out more and get access to my free financial resources visit, www.investinyourlifepodcast.com. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own and or for general information only. They are not intended to be recommendations or specific advice for anybody, not a doctor or a licensed therapist. So please consult with your healthcare provider if you have any issues regarding your physical or mental health. Any investment performance. This referenced here is historical, and of course has no guarantee of future results. Last but not least, the Easter bunny isn't real.