Are you unemployed and or unemployable?
Are you unemployed and or unemployable?
Are you Unemployed and or Unemployable?: How to jump-start your own business with a more grounded financial and business strategy and way less fear!
There comes a time in many budding entrepreneurs’ life, when they come to the crossroads of being either unemployed, unemployable, and or both (which lights a fire under their you-know-what) to get their own business dealings in order.
Pictured here was my unemployed and unemployable moment with the time date mid-Oct. 2017 taken outside of the New York Department of Labor: Unemployment Office in Flushing, Queens NYC.
I’m sure you can tell from my facial expression that I am both excited and scared. I remember thinking to myself
“Oh man, the pressure is on now!”
which was immediately followed by….
“Can I really do this!?!”
Being unemployed with no idea of how you are going to pay your way in the world can be a very scary and anxiety-provoking situation.
Whether you were recently let go of from your job due to downsizing and or you’ve have come to the point in your life where you just can’t work another day for someone else, either way, I’m hopeful that by the end of this email you will be less fearful and more empowered to take on starting and or growing a thriving business venture in 2021.
Most compare the first few years of starting a business to jumping out of an airplane and figuring out how to build a parachute on the way down ( ie. your business that satisfies a market need and in exchange makes you $ = a stable income source for you and your family)
Just last April 2020, unemployment was at a staggering 14.8% in the United States; figures not seen historically since the great depression.
I’m sure you are thinking in your head, “Devin, I thought you were a conscious life and business mentor, not an economist” and to that, I would say that’s totally fair and you are absolutely right!
However, if the instability of the economy over the last year; the COVID 19 health crisis bringing on massive layoffs, certain industries commerce being reduced to practically 0 / being allowed only to operate at 25% capacity, mandatory quarantines and stay and home restrictions haven’t either directly impacted your livelihood and or forced you to think more about pursuing different lines of work with more financial sovereignty, I truly don’t know what will.
Or maybe you just really love working from home after having a year of doing so full time and would really love to design a scalable thriving business that offers locational freedom where you can operate it from anywhere in the world.
The truth is, even when you are suspicious that you will be let go, you can still feel blindsided when the day comes.
That is unless you’ve positioned yourself in a number of ways financially and mentally to hit the ground running when the time comes.
In the event, such a day comes or you really want to step into your startup with full confidence to take it on, I’d like to share with you a number of tips I implement before I transitioned and a few more I learned (the hard way) as I struggled to build a successful six-figure business in the first few years.
Being unemployed with no idea of how you are going to pay your way in the world can be a very scary and anxiety-provoking situation.
Whether you were recently let go of from your job due to downsizing and or you have come to the point in your life where you just can’t work another day for someone else, either way, I’m hopeful that by the end of this email you will be less fearful and more empowered to take on starting and or growing a thriving business venture in 2021.
20 FINANCIAL/MINDSET/BUSINESSSTRATEGY TIPS
——————- FINANCIAL TIPS ————————–
1) SAVE YOUR MONEY, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED IT!
If you plan to self-fund your business venture (instead of raising money through loans or grants) it’s important to put away more than you think you’ll need to live on and for you to operate your business off of. It can often take 2-3 years to get a business cash positive and establish yourself in any given niche, so having more money banked buys you the most valuable resource we all have, “time” to figure it out. In that time, you can improve upon your product/service and streamline your business operations. So whatever money you think you’ll need for 1x year to live on, factor in at least 2-3X more (not accounting for dependent family members and all business expenses). All entrepreneurs emphasize the idea of “starting lean” money-wise, however, even doing so, you are prone to failing forwards and making first-time mistakes in certain areas which will cost you extra money and time. It’s common, and a price of admissions as an entrepreneur so count on it! (pun intended)
2) ADJUST EXPENSES AHEAD OF TIME
When readying to start your own business, think about making adjustments to large personal expenses to reduce your overall overhead and expenses. That way, even if it takes you longer to be cash positive, you can at the very least cover the essentials. Not only will this help you save more money for your venture or rainy day, it is generally a good financial practice. I downsized my rent 2x during my first few years launching my coaching business and cut other personal expenses to account for the expectation of later business expenses. It’s very important to note that you should never cut something that contributes to your overall happiness, health, and vitality. Whether that be the gym, high-quality nutrition/supplements, a mini-vacation getaway once a quarter….etc because doing so can come with a personal cost, especially if the success of your business is solely tied to you and your output, productivity, overall energy, and creativity. The right inputs are needed to get better outputs. That said, what is more important to you in helping you launch the business of your dreams? A yearly HBO subscription or a certain course you need to establish yourself as a professional in your business? Truthfully speaking, you want to think of your business as a living breathing thing, you will need to nurture and feed it financially so that it can grow. And like a new living thing, a baby, for example, this is going to require a good deal of time, attention, and committed focus to grow it healthy over time.
I personally am against debt because I know what it feels like to go 30K into debt and work my way out. If you need to carry debt for a big business purchase to start your company, you can consolidate and transfer the debt over to a new credit line where you can get 18 months of 0% APR (as you work to pay it off) There are plenty of cards to choose from after doing a simple google search. However, once you transfer it make sure you make your main focus paying it off.
4) GOVERNMENT LOANS / GRANTS
Additionally, there are so many loans options out there due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the small business administration website for general loans being offered by the government and or google for potentially industry-specific grants. Personally, I rolled over my unemployment benefits into the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEA), a program designed to encourage the unemployed to create their own jobs and start their own small businesses. States known at the time in 2017 to offer it were Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon. Something not being offered now, but may return after the pandemic.
5) RESIDUAL INCOME
Let your money work for you while you work to establish your business. Taking a risk on a new business? Try to establish a few good residual income sources prior to stepping into the launch of your own business. Again, if time is our most valuable resource, we want to make it work for us by compounding our money over time….. so ideally you could make a focus to take some money off the top of what you have saved towards establishing a residual income stream that offers frequent returns monthly and or year-over-year as you build your business. Potential avenues for residual income streams (real estate, short term rentals airbnb/vrbo, high yield savings accounts, writing a book, stocks with dividends, etc ) Hopefully, you shall never need to pull $ out of any residual income stream or need it for you or your business to live on, but it sure will help with the financial pressure while you work to make your business profitable.
————— MINDSET/STRATEGY TIPS ——————
6) NEVER QUIT
Whether you are in the first few years of your business and times are tough or are employed but getting to the point of being unemployable, it’s important to never quit before the time is right (or not at all)l. In most states in the United States, you can’t receive unemployment if you quit your job voluntarily. So, if you are coming to the point of being unemployable and money is the motive, I know it might be hard right now to find purpose in your current role (when you are ready to launch on your own thing) but consider digging deep within to find the purpose in it, if only for a financial means to an end. If this venture is going to be your focus for the next multiple decades of your life why rush things? You can find a way to do your start-up work in the early mornings and or burn the midnight oil readying to launch and grow a side business on the low. This is what I did and trust me, in an extra 6 months -1year you will be glad you did. There is nothing worse than being financially unstable when launching a business venture so save and build as much as you can.
7) BUSINESS VIABILITY
Be careful not to personally justify the validity of your business because YOU FEEL there “might” be a need based on your personal experience. Instead, do your research to establish social proof in the market. All too often, entrepreneurs build their business then go out to the market to sell it. Instead, get feedback directly from the customer to PROVE that there is a need. It’s important to test your business viability in the market. You can do this by interviewing potential customers that fit a certain profile that you believe can benefit from such a product or service and or by making a cheap product prototype and getting it into the hands of those same potential customers. You want to see first hand if they are willing to buy what you are selling and it makes their life better/easier by satisfying a need. The more niche-specific experience you have and the more feedback you can get from the ultimate customer, before investing the bulk of your money in a business, the better. I know it might take more time to do this, but if you are going to build a business the right way, with market staying power, it may take many iterations to get to the best product or service designed to effectively fit your customers’ needs. This goes for many products or services, and especially if there is no other competition that you know of in your market successfully doing what you intend to do where you can mock, improve, and differentiate based on their success.
Invest quickly and often into gaining the skills you lack. Getting support from people who have done what you want to do and or to gain the skills you need is vital to make your business a success. Some people think to start a business you need an MBA or higher education. Not true! Though such a higher business education is helpful and can open networking doors, wouldn’t the 15-45K ( often the cost of 1 year of studies) be better put towards industry-specific coursework, classes, and or coaches that can teach you EXACTLY what you need to know??? I myself got my MBA in my early 20s and I personally think theoretical knowledge helps very little when out in the real world of entrepreneurship. When I went to launch my coaching business I signed up for a 2-year program to get a deeper understanding of coaching psychology and learning how to coach on the deeper emotional work, which at the time was a struggle point for me. There is no shortage of courses or workshops online. The internet is filled with coursework and professionals who have walked the path you want to walk down. Oftentimes, you can find a La Cart a course that teaches you exactly what you need when you need it. A course for what you need to learn is out there, so do your research and ask around.
9) EMPLOYEE MINDSET SHIFT
The hardest thing that I’ve found in coaching new entrepreneurs is for them to embrace the mindset shift from employee thinking to that of a self-driven entrepreneur. I mean how could it not be? Socially we are conditioned from an early age to be obedient, follow rules, don’t challenge what is, wait for authority to assign homework and projects — albeit your teacher, leader, or boss. But not us entrepreneurs! Why do you think so many of us make terrible students/employees and or take non-traditional pathways to success? We were born to break rules and do things differently. We were born not to follow but to lead a following bringing our vision and community to life. We usually create things to go against the norm or challenge what already is to make things simpler, superior, and more sensible to the market. And we need little encouragement, approval, and or permission to do this because we follow our core beliefs and convictions. You are now the student and the teacher all in one and must take ownership of this responsibility. Own your power and authority to decide NOW and into forever how you will lead and influence change for the better. No more permission or approval is required. If you need one, let this be your last.
10) EMBRACE UNCOMFORTABLE RISK AND MESSY RESULTS
Taking calculated risk is an everyday occurrence when you are growing a business. Known comfort zones that carry 0 risks often are a path that leads to lessening rewards and a sticky comfort zone (both in life and business). So if you are fearful of failure, and don’t want to frequently be in new and unknown territory, yet have the goal to have a successful business, it’s time to break free from such idealism. Taking risks, trial and error, and making many messy mistakes only to clean them up later saying “yes, a costly lesson learned, and a mistake to never to be repeated” is yet another cost of admission for most successful entrepreneurs. It is equally as beneficial seeing what you need to do moving forward as seen in 20/20 hindsight the times you took a risk and learned what not to do. Most successful people are not overnight successes, they were built by walking through the fire of taking bold messy action to create a tried and true approach for ultimate success. Thomas Edison for example, the creator of the lightbulb, made accordingly 10,000 attempts before finally demonstrating the world’s first working light bulb in 1879. Asked by a reporter, “How did it feel to fail 10,000 times?” Edison simply replied, “I didn’t fail 10,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 10,000 steps.” It’s important to take on this concept highlighted by Edison’s journey; and use ALL feedback, whether it be negative or positive, success or failure, as a catalyst for improving oneself, product/ service and business process. If you prefer to take 0 risks and or fear failure as a whole, maybe you should reconsider becoming a business owner? There is a lot of ways to be part of something entrepreneurial without starting your own business. Running your own business in many ways is fit for certain personality types and so the main question for you is ( if you are not currently this personality type), can you learn to embrace these concepts in time?
11) BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITY
I know it can be overwhelming, but every department of your business as a business owner is YOUR responsibility. Whether you are a solopreneur that wears all the hats and or someone who runs a company with 1- 1000 employees, if you do not at least have a baseline proficiency in every department / general insights into the best practices of each and how one works off of the other, it’s important to know that your weakest department will dramatically hold you back from scaling a successful business. Love sales but not accounting? Love accounting and not managing ie. the hiring and firing? Every department of your business is vital to the operational success and scalability of your company. And if there is an underperforming department in your business that you’ve been avoiding improving, wouldn’t you agree that it negatively impacting your business and maybe holding you back from greater success? Going one step further, let’s imagine a metaphor where your business is a well-oiled printing machine that has many parts and is a metaphor for the departments in your business ( marketing, sales, customer service, finance, production, accounting, purchasing, etc ) When running efficiently this machine prints you as many crisp $100 bills as you want ( because if we are being honest, this is how your business works). So if we are thinking about it this way, isn’t the part that feeds the paper to the printer (marketing), the one that dispenses the ink (legal), the one that cools the ink (sales), the one that flips the paper to another side (customer service) , the one that cuts (production), accurately counts ( accounting and finance), and the one that refills the machine with the same amount of paper to do it all over again (purchasing) EQUALLY as important as the part that came before it in the process? And is it not fair to say that if any part of this $100 bill printing machine is found to not be performing its function efficiently, wouldn’t it dramatically affect your ability to print the $100 bills? Your business is like this, a well-oiled $100 bill machine with many parts (departments) that when working together reliably provides your desired income and outcome of as many crisp $100 bills you can figure out how to print in a day. Now you can either hire someone to be a technician to service different parts of your machine, oversee it’s production overnight, but what you cant do is avoid making sure every important part of your $100 printing machine is working efficiently.
12) LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION
Do not give weight to people or perspectives given by someone who hasn’t done what you want to do and or isn’t in your industry. Some people may doubt you simply because they cant see it for themselves. This can sting the most if coming from the people closest to you (family, friends, lovers, etc) and or from perspectives you value ( teachers, mentors, coaches, etc) but I want you to know that there will be many that may never see the vision you have for you. This is why it is your vision and not theirs. This is okay and ultimately doesn’t mean that what you are doing or how you are doing it, is incorrect, it’s just incorrect for them. Remember, everyone has opinions, some opinions just hold more weight. You don’t always need presenting evidence or logical reasons for your decision to be in the end the right one. Please balance logic/reason with listening to your guts and intuition. Hesitancy and self-doubt kills more dreams than a wrong strategy ever did. Learn to trust yourself on your business journey.
13) NAVIGATING PAST THE OVERWHELM TRAP
When starting your entrepreneurial journey, the initial excitement and freedom you first feel can quickly move into a never-ending state of panic, fear, anxiety, and overwhelm. This is when the honeymoon phase you have with being an “entrepreneur” meets the reality of how much work actually needs to be “done” before your business is profitable and stable year after year”. The truth is, there is always something more to do, someone else that needs your response, something new to write/create, something more that needs to be adjusted, changed, and or permanently redone altogether. So many things that need your attention every day and everything is happening all at once. So much so, that it can make your head spin and put you on your you know what. It feels as if no matter how hard you work, you are constantly behind and working on a to-do list that is never-ending. And as much as this is a reality, you don’t have to buy into letting it overwhelm you and take you out. Do not worry about the future, you are not there yet, focus only on your planning and executing in the present and bettering your approach for tomorrow. Take a deep breath, and simply go one step at a time. Succeeding oftentimes is as simple as persevering through these tough years and stacking up your successes against minimizing failures, one project, one post, one new success habit, one client served, and one product sold at a time. Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Feeling overwhelmed? Feel as if you aren’t getting enough done every day? This is totally normal and another cost of admission for the first few years as an entrepreneur. Keep your head down, your spirit up, and keep plugging away. These feelings will lessen as your business stabilizes and your structure/ processes gets put in place.
14) MAKE MONEY FIRST
Many new entrepreneurs spend a lot of time and money wasted on non-essential flashy things prior to launch which derails them from the main focus, MAKING MONEY selling their products and services. This happens because our ego wants us to feel “ not enough” and to have everything perfected and ironed out BEFORE presenting it to the world bracing judgment and criticism. So many new entrepreneurs will spend a great deal of time and money developing apps, perfecting branding materials, building websites from scratch, etc BEFORE THEY EVENT LAUNCH. Many on the low end invest 10-25K into branding a business before even making a single dollar back. Being down this road myself in past ventures in my early 20’s and vowing to never do that again I switched it around this time. It’s important to ask yourself ongoing questions which will save you time and money…. ex. Is there already something out there (an app) that I can use for a reasonable fee? Maybe I don’t need to reinvent the wheel or build out a website, fancy funnel, and or buy the gold foiled business cards which judging by the quote I received may actually be real gold? Maybe a website is not even entirely necessary in my market? Maybe I shouldn’t order the 100 pens with my logo on them thinking that bypassing them out, is going to impress people and lead to more sales. These things (minus the pens added in for fun) can require a great deal of time, energy, attention, and money which when you are first getting started is in limited supply. The real question to ask is, “Is this essential right now, and will it directly lead to increasing sales?“ If so, do it! I’ve seen it time and time again novice business owners thinking that as soon as they finish their website there is automatically going to be thousands of people knocking down the door to buy from them and so they spend months on their websites, and then *crickets*. Honestly, sometimes having no website to start ( depending on your niche and business) can work in your favor because starting out you may pivot and adjust your offering a number of times before finally settling on something permanent. Doing something custom that needs to be adjusted soon thereafter can be a novice mistake. The best thing you can do to start up lean and turn a profit quickly is to flush out the bare bones of what you are selling and put money towards marketing initiatives to acquire leads and close clients/customers ASAP (Granted that you have a viable business, and your licenses, and accreditation’s check out of course ). Then, the more money you earn, the more you can reinvest into the venture…… and maybe one day get those fancy pens *wink wink*
Do what you say, especially when it feels difficult to uphold. Whether it is in business or life, if your word breaks down, likely your business and life will too. If you need to readjust your agreement with yourself or with another and create an alt timeline, that’s okay, but make sure once you re-promise you delivery on it make sure you do it. Not only will this build trust with yourself and self-confidence in your ability to follow through will also build the same with your clients and those in your life. Whether this applies to adhering to your marketing plan, hosting a workshop/event, adhering to a contracted deal, giving a refund, or simply following up when you said you would….there is magic and power in the resilience of upholding your word and being in integrity even when it feels difficult to uphold. There are very few things that we can control in life, but your integrity and character are one of them. Show mainly yourself that you can be relied on in pressure situations with the small things, and the big things will be achieved eventually in time.
A big hurdle with most new entrepreneurs is knowing how to organize and effectively manage their day-to-day and what to do when in their schedule. You are no longer being assigned meetings, projects, and or homework from your boss or teacher with a due date on it. You must again, hold yourself accountable to your timelines and highest intentions breaking down your success habits and projects into your schedule. They say if you want something done on time, give it to a busy person. Why? Because those people are extremely effective with their schedule and adhere tightly to their plans so I invite you to start to take ownership of yours. As mentioned, the first few years of business can be extremely overwhelming and come with a never-ending to-do list, so learning how to most effectively plan and approach your work while still balancing your health/wellness, personal, and romantic life is key to not only getting stuff done, maintaining your sanity, but to long term happiness and success. That said, I would suggest breaking up certain days and designating certain times in your calendar to take care of important tasks and business habits as well as life/wellness habits.
Here is an example…
Monday/Wednesday – 7-9am – Success Priming: mediation/breath work/journaling/prayer
9am-12noon – followup/ networking/client calls
1-2pm – lunch
1-4pm – improving processes/creating documents
4-6pm – training/managing new hires.
6-8pm – present time with wife/kids/dinner
9-11pm – big picture brainstorming/reviewing day/ planning for next day
Tuesday/Thursday – admin tasks/followup/writing/editing content/creating emails/marketing.
Friday- tying up loose ends, accounting, life appointments…. house, bills, car, cat, dog, dentist, doctor.
Saturday- next week planning and organizing/ FUN
Sunday- OFF. resting talking to and hanging out with family. No social media. No business calls
I recommend putting EVERYTHING into your schedule.. Your schedule is your highest expression of your intentions so time block in your morning rituals, hobbies, downtime, date night, etc Life often never goes to plan, however, we have the best chance of staying true to our highest intentions when we have a rhythm and schedule to follow. In the end, find a rhythm that works for you and stick to it if you can. I promise you, it helps greatly.
There is a saying that goes “hire slow, fire fast”. What do you charge per hour or for 100 sold products? If someone could guarantee to max out your schedule with clients and or sell 1000 more products in a day would you pay them 5X to receive 10X back? Of course! Oftentimes, we limit our grow because we struggle to see the upside of the initial monetary and time cost of investing in hiring someone and letting go of control. Hiring is the evolution of your business. We all need to hire at some point as we scale and to do that we really need to be clear on our long-term vision, mission, and values so to only hire people who are in alignment with you and committed long term to what you are creating. Otherwise, I’d recommend firing fast as soon as you see that they aren’t. And if you do plan to hire, focus on hiring for tasks that someone can do easily and cheaply in the beginning that a) frees you up to focus more on sales/marketing b) helps you directly schedule more hours or sell more products. Everything in your business can be broken down into a process that can be taught to someone, if it can’t in the moment, you want to ask “what is your biggest business time waster???: so you can hire someone to free you up.
18) IMPROVE YOUR PROCESS
If you haven’t guessed it already, I strongly believe that you can break down optimizing your life and business into executing the right structure and systems at the right time. Some of us create structures intentionally and others unconsciously. However, we all need the proper process and structure to operate optimally. Developing processes may be hard at first because you are just figuring it out, but do try to challenge yourself to create one from the beginning and improve upon it as you go. It will become known and easier in time to follow without thought. Focus only on adding to your process what works and is actually helpful, simplifying as needed, and ditching the rest. You should have processes for sales, marketing, purchasing, production, accounting, admin ( hiring and firing ), etc. Again, these processes should make your business easier to run, not just another thing to manage. And look at the upside, the more you can detail a process for a certain department, the easier it is to hand the task over when it comes time to train others.
19) HEALTH & WELLNESS
Take care of your health and wellness like your business financials depends on it. Too many entrepreneurs work 7 days a week for years and burn out or struggle with work-life balance because they don’t intentionally create time for the very thing that allows them to function at their best. Whether you are a solopreneur and or have a well-established business with a team, the source of your output for the company must come from putting the right health and wellness inputs into your mind/body/spirit. Health and wellness habits I like include that support my creativity/productivity: lots of sleep, podcasts/reading (industry-specific), motivational videos, daily exercise, different types of meditation/breathwork, ice baths/hot saunas, vitamins/minerals/supplements, organizing and deep cleaning my office/home, mini-vacations, fishing, randomly calling an old friend, goofing off with my partner or family member, making a fire in the fireplace, etc. Make sure to schedule infrequent breaks every few hours for 10-15mins at a time. It may feel like a time waster but it does help with productivity. Our brains aren’t meant to focus on a screen for hours at a time. Remember, your best work can not be possible if you yourself are compromised and sick. Take care of yourself, this is a marathon not a sprint remember.
20) GET READY TO WORK
Not more to say other than the above. If you are starting your own business because you want to work less, it’s a common experience that it is the exact opposite for most entrepreneurs. Don’t be surprised if this is the case for the first few years. I currently only work about 20-30hours max on any given week, but originally was working 2-3X that setting things up. If there are important people in your life that need your time and present attention, and you are just starting your business, make sure to express how important they are to you and have honest and open dialogues about the reality of the time commitment and what may be required of you in the first few years of a launch. This allows them to understand what your commitment is, feel more deeply connected to you, align with your vision, and creates a space together to brainstorm how to make time to connect as often as possible.
Did you find these 20 tips helpful?
If so, which ones resonated the most?
Email me back your favorite tip(s) and comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Looking for holistic support and ways to scale your biz to +!00k/year with ease instead of life sacrifice, relationship collapse, or burnout?
Follow the link below to book us a time to connect.