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Considerations When Buying An Existing Business

Considerations When Buying An Existing Business

 
 
00:00 / 00:26:32
 
1X
 

Considerations When Buying An Existing Business

For people who are interested in buying online businesses, it can be hard to know when you’re finally ready to commit and make your first purchase. There is a seemingly endless number of questions to ask and decisions to make. For some, it can be hard to know when you’re prepared enough to act on your investments.

Today, we’re talking about the questions and self-assessments you should be considering as you move towards a final decision. We also talk about seeking success, and the fact that you never fully know until you jump in and try.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • What you need to keep in mind as you make this decision, including your desired end state and monetization plan
  • Self-assessment advice – how understanding your personality type, skills, and interests should inform your decision
  • The need to commit when the time is right. You never know everything, and you may never feel fully-prepared, but if you have a good team of advisors around you and have asked all the right questions, you are as ready as you’ll ever be.

References

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to The Red Pill Retirement podcast, where we give you the raw unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401ks are quickly becoming a thing in the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

I’m your host, Ryan Cowden and this week we’re joined by Ian Bond from redpillretirement.com. In this episode of The Red Pill Retirement Podcast, Ian and I discussed the final questions you should be considering before you buy an online business. For people who are interested in buying online businesses, it can be hard to know when you’re finally ready to commit and make your first purchase. There is a seemingly endless number of questions to ask and decisions to make, and it can be hard to know when you’re prepared enough to act. Today, we’re talking about the questions and self-assessments you should be considering as you move towards a final decision.

We also talk about seeking success, and the fact that you never fully know until you jump in and try. In this episode, you’ll hear what you need to keep in mind as you make this decision, including your desired-end state and monetization plan, self-assessment advice, how understanding your personality type, skills and interests should inform your decision, and the need to commit when the time is right. You’ll never know everything and you may never feel fully prepared, but if you have a good team of advisors around you and have asked all the right questions, you are as ready as you’ll ever be. There’s a lot of actionable advice in this episode, so grab something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes.

As always, I’ll be back on the other side to wrap up any loose ends. So without any further ado, here’s my conversation with Ian Bond. All right, Ian, welcome back to the podcast. How have you been recently?

Ryan, never better. Great to hear your voice again and see you again too. Now that we do these videos last few podcasts ago, we couldn’t get the video to work on my end here. So my apologies.

It’s good to see you. Yeah.

Yes, exactly. Good to see you.

Yeah. Well we’re diving into a really interesting topic today. We’re looking at websites and that decision point, when do you really know that you’re ready to pull the trigger, and what should you be considering at that stage in the game. So something you have a lot of experience with.

Well, I went through the soul searching and I’ve described it before. We’ve talked a little bit about it on the podcast. Just to remind people, I became convinced through my professional analysis that website investing was an incredibly attractive opportunity. At 58 years old, my biggest fear was the tech fear. Could I crack that or would I lose every penny I invested immediately? I put down 53 deposits on websites with one website broker alone, and my bookkeeper nearly fired me because the money was going back and forth every time I canceled my deposit. So yeah, I have a lot of experience with the soul searching.

So I wrote a blog piece that talks about how you might think about a framework to get there. So how might you do that. Now maybe we can, maybe you ask me what you think the relevant questions are to unpack that and fire away.

Sure. Well, I think one of the good places to start is one of the things that you mentioned is having an end goal in mind. So what’s your desired end-state? That’s probably going to look different for different people, but how did you go about figuring out what your end-state was going to look like?

Obviously, the old Stephen Covey start with the end in mind comes to the forefront when you think about this. You don’t want to do something that you’re going to be horribly unhappy with. I’ll just give you a for instance, I’ve been in sales my whole life and so we decided to do a physical goods eCommerce that has a big customer service component. That worked and also you have the supplier relationships. So consequently, it didn’t threaten us. In fact, it was attractive to me to bring my skills and experience to bear on that. Other people would make a totally different decision because they want nothing to do with them, and I know people like that. People that like to do analytical things and want nothing to do with human interaction.

That wouldn’t be me, that would make me unhappy. I enjoy what we’re doing right now. So I think you have to start with like if I end up succeeding in this, what’s it look like? Obviously we’re all here to make money for one reason or another. I am late career professional and I’m here to make money to finance something beyond this career that excites, and that can support my family. So there’s certainly a monetary component, but you have to also think, do want to go into the coal mine every day or whatever it is.

All right. Great. Well another thing that you mentioned is having some framework of a monetization strategy. You want that piece in mind and-

Yeah, so two things I would point out there. In the piece that we wrote, we talked, I leaned heavily on Tom Corley from Rich Habits. If you just Google, Tom Corley, Rich Habits, he has a wonderful blog. He did a study of wealthy people and what the habits are of the wealthy, and what they do that’s different than normal people. He has a framework where he says take expert knowledge, develop advanced skills, and then the way to achieve success is by you got to do it. Okay? So the big question is, how do you push yourself to get to that next level? Now I’ve articulated and explained on this podcast that I shamed myself into it, because I put all those deposits down.

I’ll tell you a story before we moved over here, we went on a family vacation to a Connecticut, rented a house. House came with a couple of bikes. My kids were nine and five at the time, and both wanted to learn how to ride bikes. They’re city kids. We didn’t have bikes in the city. One kid’s a daredevil, one kid’s incredibly cautious. Girl is older, boy is younger, boy is more cautious. Okay, but on either end of the bike trip, at the beginning where was mom or dad on one end and mom or dad on the other end, expanding the distance between each other as we taught our kids how to ride bikes. After the long weekend, or the week that we were there, both kids were riding bikes at the park around the tennis court unendingly. I mean, come on it’s time to go home kind of thing. Overjoyed to have learned it. How did they get there?

They had mom and dad continuing to move the goal pole, or move the distance further and further apart. I would tell you that I think it’s the same thing in terms of that achieving success component is the same thing. You need to try to lean on other third parties, other telltale signs, any kind of framework that you can develop that tells you that you’re ready. In my own investing experience, I basically shamed myself into it and made a $17,000 tuition deposit on what I call the University of the Internet to say, “Look, I can afford to lose this. I really think it’s going to work. I’ve done as much work as I possibly can. Time to pony up and try it.”

Okay. So would you say that … You mentioned two personality types, you got the dare devil and the cautious. Which one are you?

I was overly cautious.

You’re overly cautious, okay.

Yeah. I was 58 years old investing in websites. I’m not a tech guy okay, so I manage tech guys. I have tech people reporting to me, we manage big projects. I’ve managed major transformational technology projects, I understand the moving parts. If there was one thing that I underestimated, it was I could do that, I could take exactly those skills and with the pool of outsourced workers I have access to, I can literally recreate that. I really thought I was going to have to do more myself, and I’m incredibly positively surprised that the opposite is true.

Okay. So let’s talk that through. It sounds like an important step here is self assessment that people need to figure out what type of personality they have as they get into this. What do the daredevils need to keep in mind, and then what do the cautious people need to keep in mind is if you’re just getting started?

I’ve talked about this before but I think that in any website investment, there is an activity chain that you need to think about how you’re going to solve. The activity chain are the activities that you need to succeed in that endeavor. So if you take physical goods eCommerce, there are supplier relations, there’s the website stuff, and then there’s the customer service, customer support. So we thought, I thought really hard about that activity chain and that didn’t scare me. Now it scared me a lot when I looked at content sites, which I think the activity chain is very different. There’s keyword research and there is back linking, and there’s PBN strategies, and there’s a bunch of stuff that didn’t appeal to me that I knew I wouldn’t excel at and didn’t have any immediate thing that I could bring to bear on it.

Whereas having been in sales my whole life and being an online shopper, I felt like I could actually discern value on the Internet in terms of the sites, discern how I could add value to the customer experience. As I’ve said before, I think to a certain extent, physical goods eCommerce is a little bit like real estate for most people, it’s fairly intuitive. So I got comfortable with that activity chain, is the long, the short answer to your question Ryan.

Okay. So people need to find something that they’re going to enjoy the daily tasks, it’s going to fall within their skillset.

Break it down into what you need to succeed, and look at how, figure out how you’re going to handle that component. Now the middle component, that web stuff I mentioned, we outsource all that. We don’t do that. The beautiful thing is that the bulk of the websites that are available today, particularly in the eCommerce world, but also in the content world, run on standardized platforms and there’s all kinds of workers you can hire to do that stuff. So whether your eCommerce site runs on Shopify or big commerce, there are developers that you hire. All you have to do is tell them what you want. You have to be very prescriptive on what you want, but they’ll do it and they do it really, really cheaply.

I mean when I say cheaply, four or five, six, eight bucks an hour cheap. Yeah, and they work ungodly hours, lots of hours and it’s this incredible pool of talent. I have to tell you I think the reality is that most people here probably had an idea that they just need to figure out how they can leverage that pool of talent out there, in order to best help them achieve their goal.

Okay. Okay. You mentioned this chain of working through the Tom Corley method of analyzing what are your expert knowledge to where that lies. Does that need to fall within any specific sphere or is it just, what are those experts skills look like that people are self assessing for?

Yeah, look I think what I identified for myself was I’m a people person. I’ve been in sales, I know that I can have a conversation with someone I can think on my feet. I enjoy it. It doesn’t repulse me. I look forward to it. I know conversely, the doing keyword research and being inside a spreadsheet all day is not going to get me up in the morning. I don’t think you have to go to 23 and me and get your DNA tested. I think it’s just stuff where it’s some fairly easy questions. You get to those questions by doing what I said about developing the activity chain, and really thinking hard about what it takes to succeed in the monetization model that you choose.

Okay. Yeah, absolutely. So there’s the activity chain, there’s the monetization model, there’s your expert knowledge. Is there a point where people need to start thinking about developing certain advanced skills, or is it more of an extended?

Yes.

Okay.

Yes. So the activity chain then tells you what you need to succeed. Some of those gaps, some of those things you can do yourself with honing your skill set. You can learn, let’s just say one of the key components and we’ve mentioned this before, is traffic to a website. You can understand very easily what the way to succeed in getting traffic to your website is both through organic means, and through paid traffic. You don’t necessarily have to be the person that does that, but you need to be able to understand it well enough to manage someone that can do that, and evaluate whether or not they’re doing a good job. So I’m not involved in the paid traffic campaigns other than to evaluate, and to stay on top of the trends, and to prob where I think that there are gaps. Success is obviously, how well you’re succeeding is obviously a great guide post.

Anyways, long story short, there is that little gap that you’re going to need to fill. You can’t hire a professional or an outsourced worker without being able to speak to them like you do at your job to someone that you’re going to put on a task. You’ve got to be prescriptive, you’ve got to know what you want. The worst thing is particularly to hire a VA, and not to have a procedure or not to have something very prescriptive because what you’ll get back will look very different than maybe what you had in mind. Almost certainly it will be very, very different. So that’s the advanced, when I think of advanced skills, I think of developing, filling the gaps on where you’re at and where you need to be.

Let me give you a great example. My wife is wonderful at being incredibly prescriptive. She’s very linear, so she thinks about how a worker needs to do what we need them to do on any given process or procedure. Then she actually literally records in software screenshots that show them what to do, and our people love that. They just love it. Works out really great.

That’s great. That’s great that you and your wife have a team dynamic too. That’s awesome.

Yeah, I mean it’s worked incredibly well for us. So whether you do this on your own, with a spouse which has its challenges, or whether you’re not you partner with someone or someones, you will partner with people that have skills that are complimentary to you for sure.

Okay. It sounds like the more you talk about it, it’s you get to the point where you just have to go in and do it and-

There is no question, okay. Tom Corley’s third piece is achieving success. Guess what? The only way to achieve success is to take the plunge. It’s to jump in the pool. It’s you’ve had the swimming lessons. It’s to ride the bike. So the $64,000 question is, well when am I going to be ready to do that? Well, you need to get people to give you honest assessments. You need to look to see if there’s more work you can do around analysis, and then ultimately you have to take a call. Can you do this? Like I did after 53 deposits, and there is no guarantee. So as much as you can limit the risks, you limit the risk but at some point, the only way to succeed is to try.

Then what you find is once you own a website, is you’ll fail every day in small ways at things, and the old tropical MBA post about takes a thousand days to get there, or the Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours of mastery. I don’t know what it is, I’m not sure anybody knows what it is but the more time you do it that you stay in business, the closer you get to becoming a master at it.

Okay. Well, I think it’s interesting because when you talk about building your first website, you say what caused you to pull the trigger was you shamed yourself into doing it, but that’s not how you trained your kids to ride your bike. You and your wife were building their confidence.

Yeah, Ryan, I think you’re right. I mean I’ve analyzed this before, and I should have had better coaching. I should have had better, I should have had someone holding me accountable on a five step process to get there. I should have had someone looking over my shoulder, like I’m really great at analyzing the deals, but I could’ve gone behind the scenes and looked at things with someone, and had someone task me to do various, there’s a lot of different things I could have done better. It would have helped me specifically, but may not have helped someone else or maybe they would have … Maybe there are other people just like me. So one of the things that I like to do is to try to answer those questions for people.

Okay, great. Well last time we talked, you told the story of jumping in for the first time and acquiring your first business. I think it’d be good to build on that and talk about building your confidence, and pushing into your second online business that you acquired, and what you learned pushing into that sphere.

Yeah. So if you recall, the first business was the tuition for what I call the University of the Internet. This was October of 2015. We bought the site for $17,000. It was an eight year old site. I was worried because of the tech stuff that I’d lose all my money within the first week. Now it clearly didn’t happen. We found out wow, we can actually do this. So it worked out really well, and so we did it. Then a month later, there was a site that came for sale that I had been looking at where it was in a much larger market, where we had the opportunity to address a bigger opportunity and we took a shot. Then now we really got pregnant and got in trouble. I mean we took, we started to play against some very big competitors and compete in a real meaningfully competitive market.

That was a real lesson in humility for a long time, because every day we would learn, someone would steal our lunch money and we’d fail in a small way. My wife and I had this mantra that if we made a mistake or something bad happened, it didn’t put us out of business, guess what? We lived to play another day. How is it? It was just horrible. I don’t wish it upon anybody. Being part of our community or other communities or having someone that you can talk these things through with, just to keep your head clear, we were lucky as you mentioned, we had each other but you question yourself every day when you’re going through that process. It’s just horrible.

Right, right. Yeah. So I guess the theme of this episode is do you ever know that you know, that you know, or do you just jump and then figure it out?

I think it depends on your … You go back, is it your personality type? Are you the reckless nine year old, are you the cautious five year old, and have you done the work you can do and the best way to judge that is try to get as much third party validation. You’ve got expert skills, what are the gaps that you can work on to sharpen those skills? You have expert knowledge, what are the gaps that you can fill to sharpen those skills? What is the framework around how you’re going to succeed, and how are you going to personally attack that? Then once you’ve done all that, then you’re at the moment of truth.

Okay. Do you provide a lot of resources for people on that journey?

Yes. At the retirement rehab community, myretirementrehab.me the community’s full of resources for that, email me, ianbond@myretirementrehab.me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. We have people doing this in the community and we’re excited every day to help other people. Just try to be an ear to listen to problems, and help solve problems that I’ve already seen 100 or 1,000 times.

Okay, well this was great and thank you so much. That was some good stuff.

Sure Ryan. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was fun. It’s there is no magic formula. Okay, there is no moment of truth. There is, for some people it’s easier than for others, but I can only tell you that once you get there, once you taste the success, it’s incredibly, it’s overwhelmingly reinforcing. So you got to go for it.

All right, thanks Ian. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

Okay, Ryan. That’s great man.

Thanks. All right folks, there you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond of The Red Pill Retirement Podcast. He shared a ton of valuable insights and advice today on how to move from contemplation to action, when considering buying an online business. As always, we’ll link of any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes at redpillretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed our conversation and consider subscribing, sharing with a friend, or leaving us a review in your favorite podcast directory. Until next time, best of luck in all that you do. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Red Pill Retirement Podcast.

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Starting a Profitable Website – Build or Buy?

Starting a Profitable Website – Build or Buy?

 
 
00:00 / 00:28:30
 
1X
 

Starting a Profitable Website - Build or Buy?

One of the early, major decisions you will make in your foray into online website investment is whether you should purchase an already existing platform or build one yourself. This is an important decision that will affect your time, resources, and strategy as you build your online business.

While this is a valid question, there is strong evidence to suggest that buying an established website is the more attractive option here. In this episode, Ian weighs the pros and cons and makes his case for why you should focus your activity on established online properties.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Ian defend his conclusion that established websites are the more attractive investment
  • Specific benefits that established websites offer
  • Lessons from Ian’s first website purchase

References and Resources

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw, unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401K’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re ready to help. Let’s get started.

I’m your host Ryan Cowden, and this week we’re joined by Ian Bond from Red Pill Retirement dot com. In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast, Ian and I discuss the debate between building or buying online websites. One of the early, major decisions you will make in your fore into online web investment, is whether you should purchase an already existing platform or build one yourself. This is an important decision that will affect your time, resources and strategy as you build your online business. While this is a valid question, there is strong evidence to suggest that buying an established website is a more attractive option here. In this episode, Ian weighs the pros and cons and makes his case for why you should focus your activity on established online properties.

In this episode, you’ll hear Ian defend his conclusion that established websites are the more attractive investment, specific benefits that established websites offer, and lessons from Ian’s first website purchase. If you’re weighing the decision of what type of website to invest in, this episode is one you won’t want to miss. There’s a lot of actionable advice in this episode. So grab something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side to wrap up any loose ends. So, without any further ado, here’s my conversation with Ian Bond.

All right, Ian, welcome back to the show, how you doing man?

Ryan, never better. We’ve gotten through kind of the wild and crazy Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving shopping holidays and we’re coming into the homestretch to end up 2018. And so, as I’ve said before, I love finishing strong because that’s how you start strong for the next year. Call this the ruling season because how we finish is gonna rule how we are able to behave next year, it sets the rule all right.

Right, that’s great. Well, we’re talking about something that I know you’re passionate abut today. We’re talking about how to build profitable websites and we’re raising the question of should you build that website or should you look to buy it from someone else.

And the answer is yes, okay. So we can dive into that. And I have, as you know, a fairly, I have a fairly strong view on this.

Okay. Well, let’s jump right in. What is your recommendation between building or buying a website?

Sure, so we wrote a blog piece back when we launched the site about lessons I’ve learned in website investing and why I feel that investing in websites is the most promising asset class that you can invest in. And I do this with over three dozen years of experience in investing in all kinds of asset classes. So, I would point anybody who wants an institutional analytics to take a look at that, drop me online and I’d be happy to defend that because I interview asset managers on a daily basis in my day job. And so I have a very strong view on it. But the reason I became compelled is that I saw this incredible opportunity in this asset class and I’m not a genius, I know that 90% of all small businesses fail in the first five years and of the ones that survive, 90% of those fail in the next five years. And those are bricks and mortar businesses, probably higher in website investing, so that’s number one. I didn’t think that I’d be the one to probably find one of the 10% that would create one of the ones that would survive the first five years. I didn’t think I’d be that lucky. And number two, I was already in my mid to late 50’s and I don’t have the time or the inclination to do that.

And so, coupling that age factor with statistics that so many fail, such a huge percentage fail, buy a profitable one cheap, on the cheap, and then operate it. Don’t spend the time. The question Ryan, comes down to, do you have more time or do you have more money. And when you have something as cheap in the marketplace as websites, it really tilts in favor of buying rather than creating or building.

Okay, yeah. Because the point of all this is to make money right?

It’s absolutely the case. Making money is why we’re here.

Yeah, it seems like a lot of online businesses start off, people try to start blogs or thins like that. Is that a good class to invest in or?

It’s horrible.

Okay.

Okay, all right. So anybody listening to this, if someone is preaching to you to start a blog the finance your retirement, immediately unsubscribe. That’s the worst advice on the internet. You will be eating cat food in your old age, you’ll be a greeter at Sam’s or Wal-Mart. Not that that’s a horrible thing, that was something my dad always wanted to do, when he was a – he liked to talk. But, I mean, there are more blogs on Earth then we need. And they are proliferating like every day. It’s a horrible notion that you can start a blog and monetize it as your way to fund a retirement or to fund anything meaningful. Now, it is not a horrible idea if you want to do this, start a blog, to enhance your professional career. It’s not horrible idea if it’s something you want to do because you’re passionate about it and you really like it, you want to contribute to a community of people or maybe develop a community of people. It’s and to a bad idea to want to do it as an accountability thing, hold yourself accountable to something.

I’m following a guy that I’ve known that’s in the Philippines who’s lost over half of his body weight. I started following him because he is called 430 to Fit. And it’s the number 430 T-O-F-I-T, and his name is Bob Phillips and he’s lost over half of his body weight. I started following him ’cause he’s commented about life in Dubai City in the Philippines and he had a health scare. So he’s doing, he’s taken 430 To Fit and chronicled his own journey to becoming fit after several health scares. It’s marvelous reading. Is he going to make a fortune out of it, no. But he has a number of supporters helping him along the way. And he has a bunch of people that he’s helping and he’s getting a lot out of it. I mean, that’s great. I think enhancing your professional career is great. I think there’s a number of good reasons but it will not fund your retirement so it’s horrible advice to start a blog to fund your retirement.

Okay.

Was that too namby-pamby?

Oh no, that’s good. That’ good advice ’cause it’s, I feel like you’re always looking at new blogs popping up and advice on how to get your blog, how the get followers.

Oh yeah, yeah, if you’re gonna do this, please use our blue host affiliate link so we can make millions of dollars off of people that are gonna do that, please. And we have that.

Yeah, okay.

Everybody does.

So for people looking to jump into the website world, I feel like one of the first decisions you have to make is are you gonna design this website yourself or are you gonna hire someone to build it for you or purchase one. What’s your recommendation on that?

Well, okay, so let’s go down the path for a career professional, someone who’s contemplating retirement. Again, it comes down to time or money. Most things you can particularly in the website world, whether you’re creating or whether you’re just operating one, most things you can outsource relatively cheaply. We advocate staying on all of the standard platforms. You know if you’re gonna be blogging because of the reasons I just suggested, or if you’re gonna do eCommerce which is what we do, the standardized platforms you can get tons of help. So, you know, why would you spend time doing that when you can spend your time creating useful content that you have the years of experience to share with the world, why would you go and learn how to upload products on Shopify or do the latest, greatest thing on WordPress. I don’t see any point but there are some people that geek out about that stuff, I don’t.

Okay. So, let’s dig into some of the main reasons why, I just want to get more in depth on why existing websites are good for someone to buy and one of the points that you raised in one of your articles was, Established websites already have a built in audience.

Yeah, look.

Can I hear more about that?

Well, yeah, I mean, look, if you are going to start a website, you’re gonna toil away and look, there’s lots of great advice out there that says, “How to pick a niche,” and “Check out your competitors,” and “Emulate the Good Things,” and “Find Your Voice,” and “Take a Controversial Opinion Relative to the Crowd That’s Out There.” You’re still gonna have to figure out how to drive traffic to your site and whether that’s eCommerce or whether that’s a blog. And the reality is that if you have already been able to find a site that has traffic coming to it for whatever reason, either it’s organic traffic, and we’ll go through organic traffic strategies and paid traffic strategies in a whole different episode. But if you can capitalize on either organic or paid traffic and there’s a way to drive profitable traffic to a website, you’re gold okay. Now, if, you could spend years trying to develop that on your own. I don’t advocate that, I advocate buying one where somebody’s already cracked that code, just that simple. It’s incredibly hard, it’s a bottomless pit of money. Using Google and Facebook can cost you a fortune, just learning how to use Google and Facebook is painful. Outsourcing it is incredibly painful and expensive, for Lord’s sake, take the easier route. Find a website that fits your criteria and capitalize on the fact that these things are cheap now and they won’t stay this cheap.

Because you know Ryan, as I pointed out in the article, a lot of websites yield two percent or to three percent per month of what you paid for them. So if you paid $25,000 for a website, or $50,000, that means that on a monthly basis you can see profits of $500 to $1000 on a monthly basis. Those are cheap numbers, two percent per month in an era where savings accounts are two percent per year is really worth your time to learn how to organize people that can work for you and start your empire of buying websites, I think.

Right.

It’s just one man’s opinion.

Yeah, sure. So on a practical level, once you buy that website, are you just kind of the owner and you’re letting the people still run that website or are you becoming hands on with the website?

Great question. I think that it behooves you at the beginning to get in and break down the activity chain of things that need to be done and figure out where you can add value. This is gonna harpen back to the comment I just made that you probably shouldn’t do this in this particular episode. But, let’s just take eCommerce for example, I think that there are three principle activities in eCommerce that you have to solve for. Number one, you have to have supplier relations. Number two, you have your website stuff that you’ve gotta deal with. And number three, you’ve got your customer service piece, okay?

Okay.

So now you have to figure out how you’re going to do those things, what you like to do versus what you don’t like to do, what you’re able to do. So we live nine time zones ahead of the east coast of the United States, and we sleep while customers shop. So clearly we outsource our Customer Service and we have all kinds of standard operating procedures in place for our team. And we even have somebody checking our team so that when we wake up in the morning, we have a person who’s a COO type that is checking the make sure that the orders that came in were entered correctly and sent to the suppliers correctly, that there was no slip between the lip and the cup there.

So, there’s all kinds of ways to break it down. There’s all different ways to do it. The beautiful thing obviously, and we point this out in the article that I mention, is that this business can be done from anywhere and we have done it from anywhere. We’ve done it from vacations, my wife has traveled on personal business, or family business. Her team has no idea, nor do our suppliers, have any idea where we’re at. And on any given day, all you need is an internet connection and your phone or your laptop. My wife right now is at my son’s hockey practice working on the business because when she gets home, United States will be opening for business and she wants to spend time with the family. And she can monitor the early hours in the United States. But she’s working on stuff that she has queued up to do, or she’s organized her work life around her real life.

Okay. Great.

Make sense?

Yeah, it does. You made a comment a couple minutes ago that people should get in now while it’s not super expensive and that it might be more expensive down the road, what did you mean by that?

Well, this is an emerging asset class so my investing career goes back to 1980. And I can remember when over the counter stocks, which are now known as the NASDAQ stocks, traded at ridiculously cheap prices. And huge spreads between the bid and the offer, small cap stocks were incredibly powerful performers. They also had higher failure rates ’cause they were smaller companies, they weren’t the blue chips. And I’ve spent my whole career looking at the next frontier in investing where there’s poorly organized information, where there is great fundamentals, where a little bit of homework on your own and you can make outsize returns. That’s what this asset class represents in 2018, 2019, today, that maybe the NASDAQ represented back in the 80’s.

Okay. So people, so I guess, the wider culture isn’t yet fully aware of this opportunity?

No, no, and it’s because, as I mentioned, this asset class has not yet really come of age. The information is poorly organized, it’s incredibly frustrating to get ahold of good information, it’s a nay sent industry, it’s really blown up in the last decade. So think of 2008 as being the beginning of, there’s stuff before that for sure, you’ll hear old timers talk about how they made a million bucks back in the days of dial up before Y2K. But the reality is that this industry’s blown up since the financial crisis. Heck, most of the website brokers weren’t around during the financial crisis, the ones that I talk to. And a for sure, below ten million dollars, don’t have any institutional money coming into the asset class that jacks up the prices, that raises the prices. And so, you still have an opportunity to go in and buy things at really cheap levels. By the way, you know, brick and mortar small businesses trade really cheaply too, it’s just that I don’t have any interest in owning some kind of a franchise or something that’s a brick and mortar business. Generally I don’t have an interest because I think the trend is to go to eCommerce in most industries I look at, the bigger opportunity’s in eCommerce. And so, I look at that as being just a better way to participate in small business to be honest with you.

Okay. It seems like also the flip side of this being an established industry for 10 years means it’s probably easier for people to jump in?

Well yeah, I think now it is for sure. I can just tell you over the, I’ve been looking at the website business now, it is close to five years. And it’s changed an enormous amount, it’s become much more professional. You have seen valuations in different classes of websites creep up a bit, you’ve seen, certainly you’ve seen the technology change dramatically. It’s just easier to operate these things than it’s ever been and as I’ve told you before, when I was first investing, going back when I was 58 years old already. My biggest fear was the tech fear, can I actually do this or am I just going to lose all my money on day one? And so, essentially, in the article that you referenced, you know, the five lessons we learn, that I learned investing in websites. I shamed myself into buying our first website because I had looked at, I had literally put down deposits on 53 websites, I was at the point where I knew that I wanted to invest and I knew what type of website I wanted to buy, I had put deposits on 53 things that fit the category. But I didn’t pull the trigger on any, and finally I found one for $17,000 and I put the money down and then two weeks later I pulled the deposit back, and a few weeks later I just said, “You know what, if I don’t do this.”

First of all, $17,000 was only a fraction of what I had allocated, I looked at it as a university education, and university of the internet, and my tuition, and I was sure that on this website, which was an eight year old website, I wasn’t gonna lose all my money, and my wife and I would figure it out. And low and behold, I have incredibly fond memories of that. But I had to shame myself into doing it, I literally put money down on that one, took it back, and then bought it one month later.

If you could go back now and tell yourself right before you pulled the trigger, a piece of advice, what would you tell yourself?

I should’ve gotten better advice from someone who would have instilled more confidence in me and helped me get to the point where I felt comfortable. To be honest with you, I think the single biggest question that I get from people that read the blog, is, “How will I know when the time is right, how will I know when I’m ready?” And the best answer, whether that’s taking swimming lessons, or riding a bicycle, or buying a website, is get help. Get competent help and for anything out there, you have to find someone who you’re like minded with, who gets you and who is not going to push you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing but will reason with you and will hold you accountable too.

Right.

So, that’s what I needed and I kind of solved for it in my own head and in my bedroom, which we’re recording from right now. And my wife and family were not here yet. All I did was talk to myself all day, every day about it, it was horrible. It was a horrible conversation I had.

Yeah. So it sounds like it was a scary experience to take that first leap, right?

Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. ‘Cause I was talking to these website brokers and it was like the panel van rolling up to the elementary school and the door opens and they try to sell you something that you shouldn’t be buying, right? And you just are, feel like, oh my, you know it’s the old adage that if you’re at a poker table and you don’t know who the sucker is. Well, clearly I didn’t know who the sucker was. At least I felt like it, I felt like it. But the reality is, after putting deposits down on 53 websites, I knew as much as I was ever going to know, except for really diving in and doing it.

S you kind of got to that point where you realized there’s nothing more I can learn without doing it?

Yes, yeah. That’s the realization and you have to push yourself and do it. And it’s 100% the case.

And it was a positive experience, you stuck with it and.

Well, positive, month later we bought website number two, so. It was so good that we bought website number two and then we managed these two animals and I started fooling around buying some smaller ones on one of the exchanges. And even those would’ve been, if I’d focused my time better, could’ve paid off well. But as we’ve chronicled before, website two did really, really well and was in a much bigger niche and so it had great opportunity. So we spent more time, website number one was a purchase that was designed to minimize risk and be a proof of concept. Website number two, I said to myself, “Hey, I want to be able to, let’s, for lack of a better phrase, roll the dice, and attack a bigger niche where if I get it right, I can make a lot more money.” So I targeted a bigger niche. Website number one served its purpose wonderfully well. It was my tuition for the university of the internet. It continues to produce to this day, it just pails in comparison for what number two has been able to scale to because we got quite lucky, which I’ve written about also. And so, number one allowed us to have the confidence to do number two. So, after 53 deposits, we finally got there.

Okay, great. Well, I think Ian, I think you made your case. I think you gave us a lot of good advice to get started. So, thanks.

Well, I hope I disabused at least one person of thinking that they can start a blog to fund their retirement, okay. And I would certainly hope that people would take the kind of, the look, if you walk away from this with one thing, I look at investing from a institutional perspective in my day job. I can tell you that investing in websites, websites are incredibly cheap asset class. Yes, you have to work on a website, which is to me, it’s a great opportunity if you bring the skills of anybody that’s been any, had any kind of professional skills, even any life skills. And then you bring that to it and then you’ve got this enormous pool of outsource workers that we all access on a daily basis and learning how to utilize that to your advantage makes it a, it makes it just the opportunity, what I call the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve written about that too. I think it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, write that down and if anyone should have a question, please leave a comment, email me, would love to, would love to help someone.

Okay. All right, well, thank you so much Ian, we’ll catch you next time.

Okay Ryan, great talking to you.

Thanks.

All right folks, there you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond of the Red Pill Retirement podcast. He shared a ton of valuable insights and advice today on the debate over buying and building online websites. As always, we’ll link up any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes at Red Pill Retirement dot com. I hope you enjoyed our conversation and consider subscribing, sharing a friend, or laving us a review in your favorite podcast directory. Until next time, best of luck in all that you do, and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Red Pill Retirement podcast.

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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Ecommerce

How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Ecommerce

 
 
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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Ecommerce
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For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that can eventually replace their salary, managing an Ecommerce site can be a great option.

So, in this episode of The Red Pill Retirement Podcast we talk about why Ecommerce is an attractive retirement rehab path, what it takes to get started, and what you can expect in terms of time commitment and earning potential.

You’ll learn about:

  • What kinds of professionals are a good fit to become Ecommerce store owners and why Ecommerce is an attractive retirement rehab model
  • The different types of Ecommerce business models that exist and why you might want to choose a certain model, depending on your goals
  • Whether you should build your first store from scratch or consider buying an existing store that you can grow over time
  • What level of capital, experience, and resources you need to get started as a store owner
  • What you can expect to earn as an Ecommerce store owner and what you’ll need to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings

References and Resources:

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast, where we give you the raw unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401K’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast, Ian and I discuss how to rehabilitate your retirement by building or buying an E-commerce store. For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job, or establishing an income stream that can eventually replace their salary, managing an E-commerce site can be a great option. So, today we’re talking about why E-commerce is an attractive retirement rehab path, what types of E-commerce models exist, whether you should build or buy your first store, what it takes to get started, and what you can expect in terms of time commitment and earning potential.

This episode is full of actionable advice, so I recommend that you get something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side of the conversation to tie up any loose ends. So without further ado, let’s dive into my conversation with Ian. Everyone, welcome back to the show. My name is James Sowers, and I’m joined as always by Mr. Ian Bond. Ian, how are you doing today?

James I couldn’t be better. We’re going to have one of my favorite topics to talk about. We’re going to talk about E-commerce today as a retirement income strategy. So, really looking forward to unpacking this one with you.

Yeah, and if somehow you’re just dropping into this particular episode, and you haven’t already subscribed, we have covered two other models. Previously, we talked about coaching and consulting and then we also talked about freelancing. Those will be in the show notes and they’ll also be in the show archives, so you can go back to those if you find this one compelling if you got linked through social media or whatever.

But today we are going to be focusing on E-commerce and building an E-commerce site or buying an E-commerce site, running an E-commerce store as a retirement rehab method. And this is actually your preferred method Ian. So is there a point where you can give us your reasoning behind that, why you recommend it above the other two?

Sure. So, just to make a comparison, look, I’m doing all three. I wouldn’t say I’m freelancing as much, but I’m doing coaching and consulting, I am doing skills based stuff for other people, so it’s not really freelancing. But I started out with mostly intrigued by E-commerce and I would say that the type of person that E-commerce would appeal to might be like myself, someone who has managed a bunch of people.

Might be someone who as a grade school kid had a lemonade stand and figured out they could put their system and their two best friends to work for them and they could get leverage on other people’s time. And so when I looked at it, as opposed to going to the office every day and earning a nice high salary or income, this is something where you can employ technology, although all three of the models employ technology, this one employs technology probably much more intensively, allows you to build a mini empire of people that you manage, and is location independent and scalable because, as I’ve mentioned before, we’re all native online shoppers. It’s semi-intuitive to most of us. And so the skill sets that you need fit career professionals or corporate executives who’ve ever been in any a management role or ever had any people reporting to them. So for me, it ticked those boxes and really it was the one that I could leverage my time best.

We are pretty public in having generated over $2 million in revenue off one of our websites last year, and that would be hard to do in two or three years, I guess that was our second full year of running that website, and you’re not going to do that coaching and consulting or freelancing. So, it’s really the leverage on your time that I found to be exciting.

Yeah, and to expand on that a little bit, I think maybe one important caveat to put on this is that, at least in my opinion, an E-commerce store is probably the most demanding of the three from a resource perspective, from a skills perspective, but it also has the highest potential. Because, as you mentioned, coaching, consulting and freelancing, they don’t scale all that well. Your time is required to keep that business running. If you’re not actively doing client work, you’re not earning income.

Whereas, with an E-commerce store, it runs while you sleep. The scale is pretty much infinite, it’s as high as the market will support. So, I think that’s an important thing to mention here right up front is that, what we talked about for the rest of the show, if this is something you’re thinking about pursuing, it is probably going to be a little bit more of an investment from capital, to time, to energy, you may have to have some staff to support you because I think an E-commerce store is going to demand the most diverse skill set.

And managers are going to be great at it, but you can’t be a copywriter, and a website developer, and a logistics manager. One person is very unlikely to be all those things. So you’re either going to need to outsource to help or hire somebody, probably.

Yeah. Let me mention one alternative perspective. And I think back to when I was going down this path to begin with. I didn’t have a strong sense as to what skills that I might that I possess that others might find valuable. And I have coached people and mentored people before, but the way to really scale coaching and consulting is through online courses. And I couldn’t really figure out from the get go, what was going to be the magic formula to where I can have a wildly successful online course. It was really pretty simple to take a look at existing websites, see how they were doing, and for me to try to figure out how to scale them through using some of my native skills in managing people. So, that was one of the things that came into my thinking also.

Yeah. And it’s going to be a consideration for anybody who’s listening and trying to choose one of these three paths. Maybe you start as a freelancer, and you build up a savings, and then you use that to buy an E-commerce site, and then you transition to being an E-commerce store, that’s one model. Or maybe you just dive right in. Maybe you have the free capital, maybe you have a very stable job, maybe you have a high level of income and you’re comfortable taking on some of that risk for the higher upside on the return side. So, yeah, I think that’s a super interesting point Ian.

So yeah, we mentioned in the last episode if people didn’t hear it, that I have a friend who he and his wife have been incredible new business generators. And her skill set really is a very, very high end freelancing skill set. And they now employ several freelancers who have zero interest in doing the marketing and managing the client relations. So you could start out as a freelancer and if you find out that you’re really a great do business person, you actually know the nuts and bolts of what it takes to succeed and who you should hire, so you could scale that. And there are a lot of online businesses for sale that are service related businesses.

Yeah, that’s true. You could go into the agency route, you could go into the product type service route. I don’t know that you’ll get there as fast as you could maybe with E-commerce, it just depends because there is a big steep learning curve and then you’re managing a team and that’s not always a great fit for everybody, but it’s certainly an opportunity. Whereas I think if you buy an existing E-commerce site, like we may talk about here in a few minutes, that has revenue already, then you have a head start on that and then your job is just to grow that revenue. So maybe before we get into that though, let’s talk about really quickly the different types of E-commerce models. Like we have job shipping, we have white labeling. What are some of those options, and why do you maybe prefer one over the other or a couple over the rest?

So, first of all, let me just start with a caveat. There are a dozen, depending on how you count them, different online business models, but when you think of E-commerce you think specifically of physical goods. And in the physical goods world, the biggest field to play on is what corporations to retailers have been doing from time immemorial, is they sell suppliers goods and they either hold inventory or they don’t hold inventory. Drop shipping, you don’t hold inventory. And in private label or even in non-private label, you could choose to hold inventory. We chose not to hold inventory because of the capital intensive nature of it, but that means that we’re giving up some profit margin.

Now, we have white labeled some goods, which gives us the higher profit margin but also requires us to hold inventory. And then the third piece of this is something that’s all just grown up really in the last decade, which is the Amazon FBA world. There are people out there creating products, generally products that sell for 999 to 4999, made in China that people buy on Amazon. And this is the iconic silicone barbecue mitt, or barbecue tong, or something like that. That’s not the world we play in. We play in the world of very high ticket things, where Americans are very, very accustomed to opening their wallets, and if they can find good information, they can get good advice, they can comparison shop, they will buy something that’s $1,000 very easily.

We’re trying to aim for people that I would say are middle class and upper middle class, and we’re looking for price ranges between $500 to $2,000, but really a higher end of that range, $1000 to $2,000. And let me tell you, that’s really a wonderful place to play in, because although the margins are smaller in drop shipping, often, in the nine to 15% area, when you’re talking …

… kind of in the 9% to 15% area. When you’re talking about things that dollar price, that’s a lot of dollars profit per transaction. That’s more important than percentage margins. Dollar margins are what you should be looking at.

Sure. So maybe to make this a little bit more concrete for the folks listening at home, assuming they’re not super familiar with the e-commerce. If you say, fulfillment by Amazon, that might mean I buy a lot of … 1,000 silicone oven mitts, like you mentioned, from a manufacturer in China. I have them shipped to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon stores them for me and takes on all of that cost because they’re storing all their other products there. I have a store on Amazon.com, where if people buy that mitt, that order is processed by Amazon, and Amazon will send it out from the warehouse directly to the customer. And really all I have to do is manage that supplier relationship and the pricing and the pages on the site and everything like that. So that’s FBA.

Drop shipping sounds like it’d be a better fit for the products that you’re mentioning. Let’s assume that if they’re in the $500 or $1,000 and up range, that they’re probably big bulky items around the house, like furniture or something like that. You don’t want to pay for warehouse space to store 5,000 couches, right? So you might drop ship, and have a website that is your own website under your own brand. But when somebody places an order through your website, then that order goes directly to the manufacturer or the supplier of that couch. And that person ships it out directly to the customer. So you all, again, don’t have to worry about managing the inventory.

Then finally, if you’re going to do a white labeling or private label, places that I’ve seen that done is in supplements and nutritional things where somebody has like a protein powder or something like that. You basically pay them a fee to put your custom label on it, sell it under your brand. But you might either store that in a warehouse yourself. Or they might solve for you, and you could do drop shipping. But the point is, you’re taking an existing product and putting your name on it, and then selling it to customers under the name. Do I have that described correctly?

Yeah. Let me … I’ll add a couple of negatives to each of the examples. So you mentioned that sourcing the goods for FBA. You mentioned that sourcing the goods and managing the supplier relationship is critical. I would say you also have to come up with the product idea. The number of people that fail to come up with a good product idea are far more than the number of people to come up with a good product idea, number one.

Number two, if you’re successful, and you also have to worry about having somebody knock you off and how you’re going to defend yourself. So those are the risks in FBA. I think I put out there from the get go, the wrap on drop shipping is the margins are crummy. So the way to counteract that is to go upscale. There’s two strategies that I talk about that people employ. One is becoming a niche authority site. And the other one is using a global outsource, a pool of labor and technology to press your advantage and scale a business.

Then, white label is really kind of … it’s a fairly limited opportunity. I look at it as something that’s additive to our business. But it’s tagged to rely on white label, and build a brand off of white label, that’s a fairly challenging. That’s probably lost a lot of momentum in the e-commerce universe over the last two or three years.

Yeah. I think there are certainly nuances to each of these models that somebody would find the deeper they get into them, or if they join a community like yours, or take a course or something. Because for example, I can imagine that if you’re going to get into white labeling consumables, like supplements, well, you could run into a whole host of issues there on the manufacturer side if they get the recipe wrong or something and somebody gets sick. I mean that reflects poorly on you, but you had nothing to do with it. They made the product, they sent it, but it has your name on it. So that’s a level of risk that you assume.

The same way with some of those durable goods, or those physical goods, if there’s a defect, then that person’s contacting your customer support. But really it was a manufacturer or a shipping issue. So yeah, just things to keep in mind like these businesses aren’t perfect, but the point is there are upsides and downsides to each of the models. You just have to find the one that’s right for you.

So maybe, now that we’ve reviewed the different paths somebody can go down, I think the next decision they’ll have to make is, do I build a store from scratch, or do I buy an existing store? Do I try to grow that? I know that you probably have a strong opinion about this given what you’ve done in the past, but I’m curious about your thoughts on each of those models.

When I started to go down this route, I was already in my mid 50s. I don’t think that I possess the gene that is maybe the creativity gene. I went through some of the exercises where I brainstormed ideas and stuff. But I also looked at the failure ratios of new businesses. And the failure ratios in a lot of the forums of people that were creating things. I just decided I didn’t have time to be in the 90% of people that fail with their idea.

So, much easier for me as a lifelong investor, to look at something, even if it has a limited history. Much easier for me to look at something that does have some history. And say, “I like these aspects of it, and I think I can take it from here.” To create that, I didn’t have the time to do it. And, like I said, I don’t think I have the creative gene. So that was an easy decision for me. It probably took me way too long to get there.

But, I would tell you that I’m more convinced today than ever before in my life. There’s just so many opportunities out there to look at, of people that are selling things. Where if you’re actually a student of the e-commerce business, you can almost immediately see opportunity to enhance something that’s for sale.

Yeah, I totally agree. I think that if somebody does have that creative gene, if they do enjoy making things from scratch, and they like the challenge of that, then building a store is totally a viable option. You might have to look at it from the perspective of a side project, a passion project, a creative outlet alongside of your job, whatever. You may have to have realistic expectations around that.

Because if you think about it, if you’re going to build a store using something like Shopify, and they have plugins, I believe it’s called Oberlo, where you can literally just check the box on the products you want to put into your store. They’re already sourced, and you could have a store up today. But if you could do that today, thousands of other people are doing that today. So the competition, and the overlap between products, all those things are just increasing the difficulty of your store being a runaway success. Whereas, if you

Yeah. So if you’re a career professional, okay? If you’re a career professional, you are probably short-time and blessed with more money. Let’s say you’re in your even 30s or 40s or 50s or 60s, you’re probably short-time because you’re working a day job. And you probably have some money that you can experiment with.

If you are in your 20s, and you have a greater degree of tech savviness, and you are short money and long time, you should try to build something if that’s the trade off. I think it’s almost an age thing. Although, I do know a number of people that have done … that are in their 50s and 50s that have been very successful in FBA. But I think it’s a time versus money thing.

Yeah. There’s certainly something attractive about buying a site that has a positioning and an inventory, or a portfolio, or catalog of products that’s already been vetted to some degree. Has some orders, has some revenue coming in. You know that there’s something there, right? And something that you can build off of. I think maybe one thing that we would probably both agree on, but I don’t want to put words into your mouth is, don’t go …

If you are one of those 20 somethings, and you’re hearing this, you’re like, “Oh, I’d need to buy a site and grow it.” I would say don’t go into any kind of debt to acquire a site, right? Don’t tap into your credit cards, or take out a loan, or anything like that to buy a site without having some experience. Go apprentice with an existing e-commerce store owner.

I think that in my experience, a lot of entrepreneurs, if you reach out to them, and you say, “Hey, I’m motivated. I’m not at a point where I can take action on this now, but can I help you? Can I look over your shoulder and learn from you? Can I do the work? You don’t necessarily have to pay me. But for a short-term, can I help you build your store and my payment, my compensation will be learning the ropes.” Then be a little bit more confident when you have the capital to go ahead and buy that store, and built it on your own. Maybe that’s a better option.

100% agree. Matter of fact, I had someone reach out to me that I know, and actually offer his services to partner with me. Because I knew him and had seen him and observed with him, we started to do some things together. It’s worked out wonderfully well. Same thing with another fellow, who saw what I was doing. He’s in London, and so that market’s not something that I would attack on my own. He’s there, and he can tap into what we do here at the mothership well. Which is a lot of the customer service, and a lot of the infrastructure things.

He can do what he does really well. He’s a phenomenal outside salesperson, and incredibly good talking to people. And reasoning with them on how we can potentially enhance them with the brands that they possess. So I think it’s a great point. If you are a younger person, don’t go into debt. It makes no sense to go into debt. You can learn a lot through courses and through forums. You can probably find people, and certainly in my circle of people that I deal with, you can find people that you can add value to and learn a lot, and not have that financial commitment.

But one of the biggest mistakes I see when people buy stores is that they don’t reserve enough money for the ultimate build-out to attain that niche authority status that I like to talk about. You can hit a dry patch, and it can be a long period of time. If you don’t have that financial wherewithal, you’re basically going to be out of the game before it’s over.

Yep, totally agree. You know what? The more we talked about this, the more I started to think that this isn’t necessarily a point for the young folks either. We don’t want anybody in their 50s or 60s taking out a home ec line for $30,000, $40,000 to go buy an e-commerce store. I mean, the likelihood of that going to absolute zero is fairly low compared to some other investment vehicles. But still, that’s not a level of risk I think that anybody wants to be taking on. Especially if you are looking for a retirement rehab option in the first place, the last thing you want to do is take on a large amount of additional debt to make that happen.

So yeah, that’s just another piece of advice there, I would say from a personal front. As we mentioned before, maybe if you don’t have that capital right now, freelancing, coaching, consulting, that’s a place for you to start. We talked about some of the survey results in a previous episode where most people, the difference between-

… results in a previous episode where most people, the difference between where they’re at right now, where they need to be for retirement, is about $1,000 to $4,000 per month. Well, if you can cover that for a few months through freelancing and consulting and put that aside in a little bit of a savings account, then, pretty quickly, you get to that $20, $30, $40,000 range where you’re ready to acquire your first eCommerce site, and during that six months, you can learn a lot from some of these folks we’re talking about, and you’ll be better equipped to take action on the eCommerce model when you’re ready financially.

I mentioned it before, but one of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “When will I know that I’m ready to buy my first site? When will i know?” It’s kind of like the old Warren Buffet saying, that, “It’s like playing baseball with an unlimited number of pitches to look at.” You don’t have to take a swing. You can literally stand there and watch pitch after pitch come by until you get comfortable. I think I can help people get there, and I think, sometimes, I was certainly guilty of this, I over-analyzed things and I needed a kick in the back side, and sometimes I think people do need a kick in the back side, but if you’re playing in your own head, you don’t have to … There’s nothing … There’s no gun to your head that you have to do something right away. You can continue to observe things, and you’ll know when it’s right.

I think one of the huge takeaways is get comfortable and don’t go into debt. Don’t make some of the mistakes that we can easily point to that other people make.

Totally agree. Maybe because of the time we have available today, we can’t give you the full game plan for going from full stop to running a successful eCommerce store. That just can’t be done in any amount of time that we would do in a podcast episode, but what we can say maybe is the first step down this road is to check out the No Nest Egg Retirement Plan, the No Nest Egg Retirement Community, and the My Retirement Rehab Facebook page. Those are two resources and places where you can go to learn a lot of what you’re going to need to know to take the first step in here, and all that information has been documented on the Retirement Rehab website and the Facebook group.

Maybe, Ian, you have a few other pieces of advice or resources to share before we sign off?

I think we have 130 or 130 pieces of content on the website. I think a lot of it covers from almost every angle that we could think of, these kinds of questions for folks. Certainly within the community, the dialog is incredibly active, and there are people that are lurking and listening, and there are other people that are taking the first step, and there are other people that are steps ahead of everybody else that everyone’s watching.

Some of my favorite contributions are people that have actually decided that they’re going to go forward, they’re going to hold themselves accountable, and they’ve established what I call accountability threads. They are documenting what they’re committed to doing and then updating everyone every so often that they actually accomplished 1-10, and they failed on 11-14, but they’re on top of that. It’s very exciting to see happen.

If you’re not ready to build or buy that site today, I think from an educational standpoint, we’re saying, “Go to the website.” When we say that, we mean myretirementrehab.me, and that’s where all of the articles that Ian just mentioned are available. You can search through there, find all the information that you need, and when you’re ready to engage in that back and forth discussion, when you’re ready to float some ideas, when you’re ready to find that coach or mentor who can be your guide through the eCommerce journey, that’s where you go to the My Retirement Rehab Facebook group, you start interacting with folks there and consider maybe the No Nest Egg Retirement Plan, and there’s community inside of that, as well. That is a paid resource. That’s something to consider, but that’s a much more higher touch, higher engagement community that can help you take the first step down this path, I would say.

Absolutely. Look, I think it’s a very exciting topic. We’re out there saying a lot of great things about eCommerce. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but I do think that for some people, it does play to their skillset, and I think there are ways to limit risk. As you mentioned, the upside is really remarkable if you get it right. You can have some strikeouts and still do incredibly well because if you get one right, it pays for a lot of things that flame out and go to zero, to be honest.

It certainly merits consideration and research on the part of the listeners. Of course, we are going to be diving deeper into this topic, I’m sure, in future episodes because there is a lot to cover. We just can’t cover it all today. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to sign off there, Ian, but we look forward to having you back around for the next round of insights, and we’ll see everyone on the next episode. Take care.

Thanks, James. As always, it’s a pleasure.

All right, folks. There you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian about how managing an eCommerce site can be an attractive retirement rehab option for certain types of professionals.

Before I let you go, let’s quickly recap what we talked about today.

First, we talked about why eCommerce is an attractive retirement rehab path to choose. It’s intuitive. Most of us do some shopping online, so we understand the process both from the perspective of the customer and the store. It has uncapped earning potential. It’s not directly tied to your time, so it can earn money even while you sleep. It’s location-independent, so you can do your work from anywhere in the world, and you basically get out what you put in. The successful outcome is determined by the amount of energy that you are willing to put in, and your revenue and your income go with that.

The second topic we covered was the various types of eCommerce models that exist. We talked about fulfillment by Amazon, drop shipping, and white labeling or private labeling products, and the merits and flaws of each one so that you can decide which model might be most attractive for you.

We also talked about whether you should build or buy your first store, and we said that you should build your first store if you have limited capital, but you have an excess of time and you have some technical skills that you think that you can actually start a website from scratch and grow it that way. We said that you should buy your first site if you have more capital than time. If you’re working a day job, you have a nice salary coming in, but you don’t necessarily have a whole lot of time, you’re working nights and weekends, and you have limited creativity or technical skills to get the job done, then maybe you’re a better candidate for buying your first site instead of building it.

The next topic we covered was how you can get started and what it takes. We said that you should do your research and set aside some acquisition and working capital, so not just enough to buy the site, but also enough to run the site for a few months until you start to grow that revenue and pay yourself back, and then take the plunge when you’re ready, but if you don’t have that capital, we recommended that you go out and you find an eCommerce mentor or a coach that you can learn from. We talked about some communities where you can go to seek those folks out, but, basically, you want to position yourself as an apprentice to sit there and look over the shoulder of this person and learn from them, and then when you have the capital saved up, you’ll be ready with the knowledge, skills, and the resources to go ahead and dive in.

Finally, we talked about what you can expect to earn and what you’ll have to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings. We said that the earnings are essentially unlimited. eCommerce scales as large as the market that you’re playing in, and if the total addressable market is millions or even billions of dollars, then, theoretically, you have no cap on your earning potential if you can claim a sizable chunk of that market.

We also talked about how this is slightly more scalable than other options because the store can grow as large as you like. There are millions and millions of customers out there, and it’s not tied to your time, so you don’t have to directly be putting in time in order to earn income. Your site can continue to make sales while you’re sleeping, while you’re on vacation, and things like that. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work on it, but it means that you are not limited to earning X amount of dollars per hour. You put your hours in, and the dollar earning potential is based on the market, the positioning of your product, the value of your product, and whether or not it resonates with customers.

Finally, we talked about how the outcomes are still very much a product of the time and the energy that you put in. It’s not an overnight success. It’s not a shortcut. You do have to invest a lot of emotional and physical energy into getting this store off the ground and growing it, but once you do, it can be a runaway train that can continue to generate revenue indefinitely for the rest of your life or the rest of the time that you own that store.

That pretty much sums up why building or buying an eCommerce store is an excellent option for someone who’s looking to establish an additional income stream or as a way to catch up or accelerate their retirement savings.

As we always do, we’ll link up any tools or resources that we discussed in the show notes, and those will be available at redpillretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Ian and that you’ll consider subscribing, sharing with a friend, or leaving us a review on your favorite podcast directory if you haven’t already. Until next time, best of luck in all that you do, and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the next episode of The Red Pill Retirement Podcast.

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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Freelancing

How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Freelancing

 
 
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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Freelancing

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When it comes to saving for retirement, we always recommend that you stay at your job as long as possible to extend your financial runway and grow your nest egg.

However, not every entrepreneurial endeavor fits neatly around a 9-to-5 employment situation. That’s why we recorded this episode, which gives you everything you need to know to get started with one of the most flexible side income models – freelancing.

For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that they can transition to in a full-time capacity, freelancing can be a lucrative, natural choice to make.

So, in this episode we cover how you can identify what type of services you are qualified and capable of offering, where you can find your first clients, what tools and resources you need to get started.

You’ll learn about:

  • Why freelancing is an attractive retirement rehab option and what kind of professionals are a good fit for trying it out
  • How to figure out what kind of freelancing services you can offer and compare that to what services are in high demand in your target market
  • Where you should go to find your first freelancing clients and how you can make sure that you knock your first projects out of the park
  • What level of capital, experience, and technical resources you will need to start acquiring and serving clients
  • What you can expect to earn as a part-time or full-time freelancer and what you’ll need to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings

References and Resources:

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw, unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401K’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast Ian and I discuss how to experiment with freelancing as a means to rehab your retirement plan. For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that they can transition to in a full-time capacity, freelancing can be a lucrative natural choice to make. Today we’re talking about how you can identify what types of services you are qualified and capable of offering the clients, where you can find your first clients, what tools and resources you need to get started and what you can expect in terms of time commitment and earning potential. This episode is full of actionable advice so I recommend that you get something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side of the conversation to tie up any loose ends. Without further ado let’s dive into my conversation with Ian.

Hey folks, welcome back to the show. My name is James Sowers and I am joined, as always, by Mr.Ian Bond. Ian, I see you’re burning the midnight oil there. How are things on your side of the word?

James, it’s actually not the midnight oil, it just happens to be November now and things are getting dark earlier. It’s actually not even dinner time yet. It is what it is. The days are getting shorter although the weather is just spectacular so we’ll trade one for the other.

Yeah, it’s funny how that happens. I can’t believe it, I dropped my daughter off at daycare this morning and I was looking at the schedule in her classroom and I looked at the date and I went oh my goodness, it’s November already. The year is almost gone, it feels like new years was yesterday. It’s insane how time passes and things just keep moving right along when you get busy with your day to day. We have a great topic today and we’re continuing our series on rehabbing your retirement and we’re focusing on three core models, one that we already covered being consulting and then today we’re going to talk about freelancing and then in our next episode we’re going to talk about E-commerce and running a E-commerce store.

Let’s focus on the story for today which is how you can get your retirement planning back on track or accelerate the growth of your nest egg through freelancing. I think specifically what we want to talk about to kick things off is why might freelancing be a more attractive option compared to those other two depending on what an individual’s personal background is. What attracts you to freelancing, why would you recommend that and what types of people are predisposed to try this versus consulting or E-commerce?

I think it’s a real, I think it’s a real opportunity for people that have a very, very specific skillset to be able to cash in on it at out sized money and be able to have a very well defined workable time commitment that fits their schedule well. I’ll contrast that with what I think the two big retirement publications talk about which I think is just wrong, okay, which is kind of competing in the commodity world of utilizing your English language skills to teach English as a second language and/or do travel writing or something like that which I think are horrible uses of your time if you have other skills. We’ll get into that in just a sec.

Yeah, I’m sure we will. I think maybe where we can start here is one of the green flags that I’ve seen and I’ve done some freelance work on the side while working a full-time job, the nights and weekends thing. One of the green flags that I have seen is that if in your day job you have people elsewhere in your social network asking you to do the same type of work for them, like say the run a T-shirt printing company and you’re a graphic designer and they want you to design T-shirts for them so that they can print them for an event or something like that, that might be your first indicator that you have a marketable skill that could be utilized outside of your employment.

Of course, we don’t want to violate any kind of employments contracts or agreements that might be in place if you work for an agency or something like that but to the degree that you have the flexibility to go out and pursue that on your own, that’s the first indicator, when you have friends, family and connections of those folks coming to you and saying, “Hey, Suzie told me that you do graphic design, I’ve got a couple of things in mind that I’d like to get done, could you help me out with that?” And then that’s like, hey, maybe I should try this on the side, maybe I could earn some additional income that way.

I couldn’t agree more. One of the first people I hired four and a half years ago when I arrived in my new job was a fellow that did strategy for me. The guy was incredibly gifted at writing strategy presentations and one of the things he did was write a strategy presentation for a business that his father was launching. Well, most nascent business people have a need for a strategy document, whether that’s for lenders, whether that’s for investors, whether that’s for internal purposes to educate people that are going to work for the company. He has an ability to have a conversation like you and I are having and come back with an incredibly insightful presentation that leads from the beginning all the core reasons why, what the strategy of the organization would be, why that strategy will be successful, how someone would fit in and what the unique selling proposition would be. That’s one of those skills that’s incredibly useful to have, very, very specific and for the person that’s looking for it, it’s almost invaluable. I’ll chip another one in later but it’s almost invaluable. What’s that skill worth?

For him, writing a strategy presentation is almost like rolling out of bed in the morning, it’s that easy for him because he’s that well schooled in it.

I think if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re saying hey, I do this in my day job, I’ll just do that freelance, that can work out but it doesn’t always, especially if you think you’re going to be a freelance writer or something like that, there are so many writers out there, just generic I’ll write anything that you need for your website blog articles and things like that because the entry is so low, it really is. We’re going to talk about here in a minute, doesn’t take that much to get started with freelancing. I would encourage you to find a more specialized like, what do I do that only I can do or that I am very good at compared to the general population and is something that every business needs.

If you are, we talked about this before we hopped on the show here, if you are a grant proposal writer for your organization, pretty much every company at some point is applying for a grant or something like that and they may or may not have the budget to hire somebody to do that full-time like you. You can step in and help them in a freelance capacity for a short term in a very structured scoped out project and you can deliver your expertise in the moment that they need it when that pain is most urgent and they’re going to be willing to pay top dollar because they need to get that grant money to keep whatever it is that they’re going in action. That’s just one example of somebody-

Two incredibly important things in what you said. First of all, the distance between you and the money, the shorter the distance the more you’re going to get paid. Secondly, that’s just one of those jobs where you don’t need someone full-time so by nature you can have an enormous impact. You could literally pick and choose the opportunities if you have that skill and you’re literally for the person that’s looking for you, you’re literally a document away from them scoring some money. It’s an incredibly helpful capability to be able to offer to someone.

Totally agree. Maybe that’s a good point to say all right, so somebody is looking in the mirror, they found out what they want to do and they’re saying okay, you’re telling me that if friends and family are asking for my help that’s one thing but let’s say I want to try out freelancing, where do you recommend folks go to find the first client or first two clients just to dip their toe in the water, do a couple of projects and see if this is a good fit?

Everywhere. No, the answer is kind of everywhere. Now, we’ve talked about Clarity.FM is a good place to hang your shingle and I know people that are making good money off Clairty.FM. It has people that are perusing it. I think that’s a wonderful place to go. Up Work is a place that we use for certain types of skills, some incredibly commodity like and others that are incredibly specialized. The other things that you’re going to find, and by the way, I found someone to help me when I was trying to write smart goals for a population of people that I was hiring.

Not being up on the latest kind of thinking of how smart goals are put together for performance appraisal purposes, this is for my corporate job, I went to Up Work and I found someone. With a, literally, a 20 minute conversation he had back a draft to me overnight and the price was no option, it was incredibly helpful to me, I was paying with corporate funds to do it. Had the approval to use the capabilities and much cheaper than we could have accessed it if we were to have called one of our in house, one of our third party contacts from our own shop. This goes back aways, time period. I think depending on what your skillset is you might know where you could hangout and find things but if you can build a website that’s an absolutely wonderful way that you might be able to rank organically in search results. I would go to the big ones like Clairty.FM and Up Work. Fiver tends to be more gig orientated. Those are the places I would go. I don’t know, what do you-

I think that’s a good call. Up Work gets, and places like it, I just call them freelance market places because you’ve got freelancers and you’ve got clients looking for them and they kind of facilitate the connection there. Those market places get a bad rap a lot of times and it’s justified in many cases. Up Work will take a sizeable portion of your fee for making that introduction and connection to the client, facilitating that engagement but at the same time, if you’re not sure if this is a good fit for you it’s a great place to test the waters because you have that existing market. You have all of those client project descriptions in there and you just go and submit your proposal so you don’t have to spend hours and hours trying to chase down a client, they’re in there, they’re waiting to hear from you and you just have to reach out to them. It’s a good place to test the waters.

What I would say though is you want to pretty quickly get off of that platform just because you don’t own that relationship and I say that gently because there is a terms of service for Up Work where you can’t directly ask your client to leave the platform. Obviously they want you to stay on there. Just be careful about that. I guess what I’m saying is that’s a great way to test the waters but pretty quickly you want to mature and evolve beyond that and you want to make direct connections with clients somewhere else inside of your network and start delivering higher value services to them. There is a glass ceiling on Up Work where you have some folks that apparently are killing it but for the most part folks are just taking on a few projects here and there and they supplement a more direct freelance channel that they run on their own.

I think it depends on what you’re aiming for. If you’re going to be somebody that is going to be very specialized …

… going to be somebody that is going to be very specialized and probably not have a recurring relationship. They’re going to be a little bit hostage to an Upwork or there’s a vetted marketplace called freelancers.com. I don’t know if you’ve used that? We have. You’re going to be a little bit hostage to that and kind of it is what it is. If you’re going to have an ongoing relationship, so for example, we hire developers, product uploaders, customer service people, you’re right. I mean, the tariff that Upwork charges can be fairly substantial.

Having said that, I will tell you that we have people that they’ve continued to build their profile, they continued to be able, with their profile on the feedback from us. They’re able to raise their hourly or their project rates, and they don’t want to leave Upwork. So there is a whole other side of the story where if you build a multi tens of thousands of dollar kind of profile on Upwork, that makes you gold. It all depends kind of what it is you’re going to do for your clients and what works best for you.

Yeah. I totally agree, that’s a valid point, and a valid point of criticism on my original position because I do know some folks who, like you said, have a very consistent influx of client leads coming through Upwork. Just because they’ve done good work in the past, they have a bunch of positive reviews, they’re showing up high in the search results if somebody types in website developer or WordPress developer, whatever, they’re in the top 10 results, so they always have client opportunities coming in.

I think you may be hard pressed to push into that six-figure range on Upwork. There are some folks that do it, but I think you’re mostly talking tens of thousands, which is fine if you’re still working a day job, like we recommend, and you’re extending that runway. And it might be all you have time for.

And so your point about what do you want out of freelancing is totally on the mark, and I would say anybody listening to the episode should consider what they want to get out of it in what time they have available. And then if you only have five hours a week, you can’t spend all five hunting down clients. I would say go to Upwork, tap into that existing market. Have the clients come to you, and focus on just doing great work and earning money, and maximizing that five hours you have every week.

So, that’s a great point, and you’ve got a different view of this than I do, because I have been a user, and you have actually been employed there more frequently. What’s your sense for what someone can earn? How would you bracket what the earnings potential is for someone who wants to be a freelancer?

Specifically on that platform, or in general?

I would say in general, but we can certainly make it platform specific.

Well, I would say it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a platform, but back when I was doing some work on there, you were hard pressed to find anybody … I think they used to have earned in the last 12 months or something like that. You were hard pressed to find anybody above $50,000. Which is fine, for a lot of people that is a workable salary that can sustain their lifestyle, especially if you’re living abroad and you’re leveraging currency conversion rates and everything like that.

If that’s what you ant out of it, or if that’s exciting to you, more power to you, that’s awesome. If you’re looking for a six-figure income, I think you’re very hard pressed to do that, because you have to think, with Upwork taking up to 20% of a commission on every project, will you can’t just do $100,000 worth of work, right? You have to do $120,000, or $150,000 to take home that. And that’s before taxes and everything else.

On the outside, I really think that your income is only capped by the time that you have available and what the market determines is the rates for the services you provide. So, this kind of blends into the coaching and consulting world, but I know somebody that specialized in career coaching for developers. So he would come in, and if you were a software developer or a website developer, and you were looking to make a job transition, he would come in and basically coach you on how to maximize the offer that you get from your new organization. And he would coach you through the interview process and everything like that. A very specialized service, but because of that, these developers, they earned $150,000 up to a quarter million or more, depending on where they’re working for. And they were going to return a commission to him, or a cut of the final salary that was settled on, based on the work that he did.

So, he is doing very well for himself right now. But like I said, he has tied himself directly to the money. Like the work that he does for those folks directly impacts how much they’re going to be earning for the rest of their lives. And if you’re going to earn a quarter of a million dollars for the next five years, well it’s probably not out of the realm to cut him a $10,000 check for a months worth of work to help you through that negotiation process.

Yeah. So the interesting thing, and I mentioned this a couple of times, we’re not ready yet to release the results, but we’ve done an enormous amount of testing through quizzes as to how much people think that they will be short of income when they are ready to retire. So, whether that is next year, or whether that’s in five years. Have you done the math? And if so, what is the amount that you’re short? And the fat part of the Bell Curve is between $1,000 and $3,000 a month, just to give you a preview of what the numbers look like.

Now, if you’re short $1-3,000 a month, how does that change your perspective, James?

Well, I mean that’s not all that much to get. I don’t have a calculator in front of me, and I’m not a mathematician.

Here, here. I think when you do have a calculator, $1,000 to $3,000, if you’re doing something that is like, as you said, falling out of bed in the morning, or something you enjoy, something you’re really good at. I don’t think it’s a lot of money at all. Do you?

No, I don’t think so. And what I was getting at is like you could probably reverse engineer an hourly rate that’ll get you there. And then how many hours do you have available in the month, and pretty quickly figure out what you need.

Just off the top of my head, if you make $6,000 a month and you carve out 30% for all your taxes, then you’re taking home $4,000 a month. And right there you’ve made it up. So you just have to find a way to make $6,000 every month through freelancing, and maybe that is you charge $60 an hour and you have 100 hours throughout the whole month. That’s not all that much. Or something like that. Or you charge $100 and now only work 60 hours a month. So, you’re working 15 hours a week or something like that, and that’s not ridiculous.

I mean most people can find 15 hours a week in the margins, especially if they don’t have a family, or a spouse, or anything. If they’re just single, then you can find 15 hours that you’re spending on Netflix, or Game of Thrones, or whatever it is that you’re doing in your free time. And you can freelance instead, you can earn that extra $4,000 take home that you need to make up the difference for retirement, and you’re right back on track.

Yeah, so coming back to my original rock throwing at the two big retirement publications that are out there, I saw ads for people that teach English to Chinese kids. And depending on your skillset, you are going to earn $8-$20 an hour. I don’t think that’s very good, and I don’t think that’s going to get you in any reasonable time to $2-3,000 a month on the one hand. On the other hand, I think that what we talked about, which is finding a unique skillset where you can get out-sized amount of money. Your lifestyle versus money balance is amazingly good if you can write strategy, or if you can consult on smart goals. Or other things.

And one of the things that I’m sure we both have seen is that there’s a great trade off that people make for finding continuity of income stream. They’ll trade off continuity and a time chunk every month, and they’ll take less money per hour. So, I have a very, very close friend that deals with people who write to a very specific type of tactical writing. And they have zero interest in doing the marketing. And guess what? He and his wife are whizzes, she’s a known expert, but she needs help in fulfillment. And the people that they come in contact with have no interest in doing the marketing, or arranging the jobs, or negotiating the contracts. But man, they’ll sit down and knockout the work, and if they know that they’re going to get 20 hours a week, or something like that, they’re happy to take a discount. And if they’re only going to do a job that might take two or three hours, it’s going to be much more expensive. So you’ve got that dynamic too.

Yeah, and I think that’s a really interesting point that you bring up, especially when somebody is planning on possibly getting into freelancing, and maybe they’re in that position where they only have five to ten hours a week, or something, that they can dedicate. We talked about how you don’t want to spend all five or ten hours going out to find the clients, you want to have the clients coming to you.

One great way to do that is to focus on providing freelance services that can be repeated every single month, that are on retainer. So, if you work for an agency and you manage Facebook ads, or other paid advertising, and you’re an expert at that, there are some small business owners out there that will pay you every single month to manage their campaigns and make sure that they’re getting a positive ROI on their investment there. And you don’t have to go out hunting for clients every week, you just have five clients, and every month they pay you a set amount. And you just keep going to work, and you do great work. And that’s it.

So, you go to your job during the day, at night you come in and tweak the campaigns. You put a new ad up, or whatever. And that’s it. And you have a predictable flow of client work and income that’s just taking care of you indefinitely, unless something changes on their end, or you want to grow up, and scale up or down wherever you’re at.

I’m chuckling as you mention that, because I’ve been working with a young guy that does some stuff for us in our ecommerce business. And he has over the last eight months or nine months continued to be able to evolve what his skillset is, and get a greater share of my wallet every month. And I just sent him a lot of money via PayPal yesterday. And I think back about what we started paying him, it was probably 25% of yesterday’s number six months ago. And now he’s doing things that are incredibly valuable to us, which I have helped him … I’ve helped him actually frame the offering. And to be honest, he’s offering so much value now, I’m starting to become jealous that he might take on other clients.

So, you know, the tables have almost turned. It’s amazing.

You said that took place in about six months?

A six month period of time. So I was going to mention the other thing that I think that the platforms … while we have poo pooed Upwork and freelancer.com, and places like that, the one great thing they allow you to do is build a profile. And if you can get positive reviews any place, that’s gold. And whether it’s your brother-in-law that’s hiring you and writing the view, or whether or not you have actually secured the clients yourself and done the work. And I would suggest the second, because when you actually talk to people and find out what they need, you’re going to be able to niche down and become much more efficient in what you do.

You mentioned grammar writing, and I think that’s a great example. That might not be something that’s obvious to people, but when you take your broader skillset and actually throw yourself out there, you’re probably after five or six jobs going to be able to find out real quickly what people find to be the most valuable contribution you could make to their life.

And so having the ability to point to a number of happy customers on one of these platforms, hey, it’s worth the money that you’re paying.

Yeah, and I love that you brought it back around to that platform conversation, because to put a bow on all this, I think that if someone’s listening today and they want to test the waters, that is the best way to get started. And really, to get started freelancing, you need almost nothing. You sign up for Upwork, or one of those platforms. You fill out your profile. You may have to take a couple of skills tests, just because they want to make sure that you are qualified to provide the service that you’re offering. And that’s really it, and you’d be able to get your first few clients that way. And then if you want to keep doing this, you can have your own website down the road, and things like that. But really, you just need an Upwork profile and a way to accept money from clients.

And while we’re talking about Upwork, one other thing I wanted to share is if you’re looking for, “Hey, I do writing, or graphic design, but I don’t know that really specialized skill that I have that’s worth a high value to clients,” …

That really specialized skill that I have that’s worth a high value to clients, we’ll go to Upwork and they have categories for freelancers and they have it broken down by writing and translation, graphic design, development or whatever. Don’t settle on that first bucket because they’re going to ask you how to tag yourself, like what do you do. Click down two or three levels and those very specific landing page copywriter, grant proposal writer, things like that. That’s where you want to play it, that’s where you want to start because that is the stuff that translates into the real world and has me contacting Ian directly, charging $20 an hour today and 6 months from now, charging $80 an hour because I continue to level up my skill in that one very specific path.

That’d be my recommendation is to start on Upwork today, figure out the best path for you, validate your idea and then take it from there and scale up to fit your lifestyle and what you want to get out of freelance.

I couldn’t agree more. You’re not going to be able to go to any platform and find a bucket for smart goals or something that is so niched down, yet so valuable. Go in and try and figure out. Then, just load up your profile with all of the capabilities. When we’re actually looking for people, we have to start with these very broad searches, and then we look at what their skills are that they tag themselves with and a lot of those are custom tags. When we find the person, we reach out to them immediately when we’re looking for something that’s really specialized.

Yeah, and I think that’s a valid point because a lot clients, if they’re looking for a very specialized person, then, when they see somebody who just has writing that’s applied to their profile, they’ll say, “Okay. Well, I’m going to have to hop on a call with this guy. I’m going to have to figure out what kind of writing he does, what kind of industries he specializes in,” and that’s a lot of time invested. But if they’re looking for something very specific like you mentioned, smart goals, and they find a writer that specifically has smart goals on their profile, that’s an instant conversation at least. Right?

Yeah.

They’re going to contact you and try to book a call because you are saying that you solve this specific problem that they have. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with making sure that you list those kind of things out and a great way to do that is do those first few projects and somewhere along the way, when you’re about to wrap things up say, “Hey Ian, I think this went pretty well. I hope that you agree. How else can I help your company?” Right? “Where else can I add value?” They would tell you the problems they have that seem tangentially related to what you do.

Yeah.

Thing to explore.

Look, I’ll just give you one other, just I think over the wall home run success story that we had. We were looking to hire a virtual assistant and this was going to be someone for customer service. The guy that we ended up hiring and mostly, our customer service team is in the Philippines. The guy we ended up hiring is a guy in India, in Chennai, India and he is now, sort of the Chief Operating Officer, of all of our e-commerce activities.

He oversees the customer service team, he overseas our supplier relationship, he is in charge of assembling the daily financials, he follows up with suppliers with regards to any kind of back and forth in the monies, so he’s tracking the monies. He started at one level and now, he’s role has expanded and now, we’re begging him for more of his time and fortunately, we’ve been able to get it.

Again, if you can develop that relationship, you will find that entrepreneurs will find a way to put you to work. Absolutely, the case.

Yeah, especially because that administrative and logistical overhead of finding someone else, another person on the team, that’s just another vetting process you have to go through, another payment channel they have to set up, another test project they have to go through to see if this person delivers good work. If they know like and trust you and they think that you can deliver on additional services, then you have the foot in the door already. You’re ready to go.

Trust, trust, trust. I mean, the guys always delivers. I smile every morning because he’s a couple of hours ahead of us. When I wake up and I check and I see my Dropbox folder being updated because I know that he’s hard at work and when I get around to grabbing a cup of coffee and taking a look at what happened overnight, I know he’s already going to be two hours ahead of me and he’s literally thinking what are the things that are important to me that he can do to fit into my busy schedule and add value to my life. We’re not at all hesitant to ask him to leave what we think might be his comfort zone. We haven’t been able to find out where his comfort zone is. He just keeps surprising us to the upside. It’s wonderful.

Look, I think that just to wrap it all up, I think that there’s some wonderful opportunities in freelancing. I would try to niche down as much as I can to try and capture as much as the wallet, develop the relationships if at all possible. It all depends on what you want. You may want to just do very specific high ticket projects and have a limited number or you may want to develop relationships where you maybe take less but you have a bigger time commitment. Then, when you get a chance, try to build the profile, try to extend and add value to yourself through your profile, through an external website, even through something as easy as an online scheduling tool, so people can book a call with you. Just little stuff like that imbues you with an air of professionalism that busy entrepreneurs and employers are going to be find to be sexy, to be honest.

Yeah. I couldn’t have said it better. I think that’s a great way to wrap things up. Ian, thank you so much for all your insights today. As always, much appreciated. We look forward to the next episode. We’re going to talk about running an eCommerce store. You’re having your retirement that way and I know you’re excited about that one because that’s kind of your wheelhouse. We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

Very different proposition. I actually know people that do both and have gone from one to the other. The gentleman that I just mentioned is an eCommerce store owner that is literally leaving eCommerce to create an agency. Yeah, I look forward to that conversation.

Yeah. Can’t wait. Thank you so much for your time Ian. We’ll let you go for today but we’ll be back soon to talk about eCommerce.

Thanks James.

Yeah, take care.

Take care.

All right, folks. There you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond, who is always good for reliable guidance as well as a good story or two to really hammer a point home.

Before I let you go, let’s quickly recap what we talked about today. First, we talked about why freelancing is an attractive retirement rehab option. First of all, it’s flexible, it’s scalable, and it has little startup costs or overhead to get started. It also involves doing more of what you already love in many cases and so, you’re taking what you do in your day job, and you’re just doing more of that, and increasing your income potential that way.

Finally, it’s the perfect safety net or replacement income if you are worried about getting laid off, you’ll have this side income ready to go that you can just scale up to a full-time commitment or it can be a replacement income if you want to quit your job and move somewhere else in the world or even just retire and start working part-time. Freelancing is a great option in both of those scenarios.

We also talked about how you can figure out what kind of freelancing services that you are qualified and capable of offering. We talked about starting off with what you already do and just doing more of it. We talked about finding things that appear to have strong demand in the market, so looking at some of these marketplaces like Upwork and clicking through four levels deep into the service offerings and looking at how many client projects are listed and that might be an indicator of a service that is in demand that if you have the right skillset, you could deliver at a high level and charge premium rates for.

Finally, we talked about how you should start of with service offerings that are broad and narrow your focus over time to focus on just the most lucrative channels that seem to show the most promise.

The next topic we covered was where you should go to find your first freelancing clients. We talked about pinging your friends and family and seeing if they have any projects that they could use help with. We talked about getting in touch with previous employers. We talked about going to freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Toptal or Freelancer.com and getting your start there, getting a feel for freelancing, seeing if it’s right for you and then, if you decide to continue to do that, moving off of those platforms and taking ownership over those client relationships, increasing your rates, not paying the commission to the platforms and things like that.

The next topic we covered was what it takes to get started and frankly, it’s not much at all. Really, all you need is a website or a profile, some kind of book of work, a portfolio and a payment platform to accept client payments. None of those things really cost you a whole lot of money, especially if you join a platform like Upwork, all you have to do is fill out your profile and start reaching out to clients, submitting proposals and accepting payment all through the platforms, so there’s almost zero startup cost associated.

Finally, we talked about what you can expect to earn and what you have to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings. What we talked about there was that the earnings are essentially unlimited. You can raise your rates as high as you want theoretically and you could earn six figures a year. The only limitation there is going to be your time because with freelancing, you often only get paid when you are dedicating your personal time to delivering on client work. That is the only scaling that will be put on your income or your earnings potential and the time commitment that you exchange for the money is as much or as little as you want. This scales up and down very easily and you can make it fit the lifestyle that you’re looking to achieve.

That sums up why freelancing is an excellent option for someone looking to establish an additional income stream as a way to catch up or even to accelerate their retirement savings. As always, we’ll link up any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes and those will be available at redpillretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Ian and that you’ll consider subscribing, sharing with a friend or leaving us with a review in your favorite podcast directory if you haven’t already.

Until next time, best of luck in all that you do and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast.

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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Coaching & Consulting

How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Coaching & Consulting

 
 
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How To Rehab Your Retirement With: Coaching & Consulting

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When it comes to saving for retirement, we always recommend that you stay at your job as long as possible to extend your financial runway and grow your nest egg.

However, not every entrepreneurial endeavor fits neatly around a 9-to-5 employment situation. That’s why we recorded this episode, which gives you everything you need to know to get started with one of the most flexible side income models – coaching and consulting.

For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or establish an income stream that they can transition to in a full-time capacity, coaching and consulting is often a lucrative, natural choice to make.

So, in this episode we’re covering everything you need to figure out what kind of coaching services you are most qualified to provide and what you’ll need to start serving your first few clients.

You’ll learn about:

  • Why coaching services are in high demand and why coaching and consulting is an attractive entrepreneurial path
  • How to identify what kind of coaching you are best equipped to provide AND a market that has a demonstrated need for that knowledge
  • How to structure your coaching services and find your first clients
  • The knowledge, tools, and resources it takes to start serving your first coaching clients
  • What you can expect to earn as a coach or consultant and what you will have to sacrifice in exchange for those earning

References and Resources:

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age, pensions and 401(k)’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast, Ian and I discuss how to get your start as a professional coach or consultant. For people who are looking to earn additional retirement income on the side of their day job or people who are looking to establish an income stream that they can transition to and a full time capacity, coaching and consulting is often a lucrative but natural choice to make.

So today we’re talking about how you can identify what type of coaching services you are well positioned to offer, where you can find your first clients, what tools and resources you need to get started, and what you can expect in terms of time commitment and earning potential. This episode is full of actionable advice. So I recommend that you get something to write with because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side of the conversation to tie up any loose ends. So without further ado, let’s dive into my conversation with Ian.

Hey everyone. Welcome back to the show, my name is James Sours and I am your cohost and I am joined as always by Mr Ian Bond. Ian, how are you doing today?

James, couldn’t be better. It’s great to see you again and looking forward to today’s show.

Yeah, we’ve got another great one, I say that every show, but that’s just because we keep pumping out the good content. I think today is going to be exciting for a lot of folks in our audience because this starts a series where we’re going to dive deep into specific steps that you can take to generate income on the side of your job or even if you want to do it full time to generate income indefinitely and sustain your retirement that way. We’re talking about coaching and consulting specifically today, but Ian do you have anything that you wanted to lead folks into? It looked like you had a thought there.

Look, I think this is going to be a great topic. I think that I can’t think of anyone that I know that couldn’t coach if they wanted to. So I think it comes down to saying, look, if you’re a people person, venue can probably coach somebody else something, now if you don’t want to be with people then this is not probably the right thing for you.

Yeah, totally agree, and to the same point, I don’t know anybody that is operating at the top of their game, elite athletes, Olympians, surgeons, CEO’s at all walks of life, the people that are tier one in what they do, they all have a coach, every single one of them. And so I think that what that indicates is market demand for coaches and if you are somebody who has knowledge, skills and expertise in a specific area, there’s somebody out there that can benefit from having a call, a conversation and learning from you.

Right now I have two coaches that I pay money to for different reasons. Both of them I utilize for kind of specific outcomes and they both keep me accountable and it’s amazing, It’s Kinda like having a personal trainer when you know you’ve got to show up you kind of have that urgency that you’ve got to kind of do what you promised that you are going to do and I can’t imagine not, kind of tapping the cranial fluid of an expert and getting there faster at age 61. I don’t want to go spin my wheels.

Absolutely. So somebody is thinking that they want to get into coaching or consulting and you know, we’ve already talked about how if you like people and you’re a career professional, you’re probably a good fit to be a coach or a consultant. But if somebody is saying, “Yeah, but I don’t even know what I would coach people on. I don’t know what I would consult people on.” How would you recommend that they get started finding out where they should be playing in that space?

Well, I would say, you know, give me five minutes with you and I can help you. I think that there’s a couple things to think about, first of all, the biggest hurdle that people cross is I think that they have to be the smartest person on the planet and that’s just not the case. I have a nine year old son who is not the strongest swimmer, I’m certainly not going to be on the Olympic swimming team any time soon, but I can certainly help my nine year old son swim better. And I think most of us, if you’re just a couple of steps ahead of people, that’s actually what people are looking for because they don’t want the guru. The Guru is so far gone and so far ahead that while they may be inspirational, they know you probably can’t relate to them.So the first thing is you have enough expertise.

The second thing I would say with regards to kind of what it is that you would do, you have to find the intersection of the stuff that people will pay for and stuff that you know well about. Okay. So what is that expert now? It could be professional things, most people consult in kind of the industry that they’ve been in and coaching as a kind of a wider feel there’s everything from spiritual healers and life coaches to people that coach on very specific skillsets, to people that kind of you would call tutors because they teach things like English as a second language. So there’s not a whole broad range of things, but you have to find what people are going to pay you money for.

Yeah, absolutely. And you know, like you said, coaches come in all forms and functions. I mean there are people who literally just coach software developers on how to find their next job or negotiate a pay increase or something like that. I mean, there are, the niche can be as small or as large as you want to make it, it’s about looking in the mirror and saying what am I good at and what do people in the market have as pain points and problems that I can solve given my unique experience.

Yeah. Let me just add to something that, because I actually suffered through this for a while, you don’t want to be all things to all people and there’s a great Pat Flynn’s saying that the riches are in the niches. Okay. So actually the tightest that you can get your proposition, you will find a tribe, you’ll know where to look for them and you’ll find them. And I think you want to bring it down and narrow it down, here we are talking to people who are behind the game in their retirement planning, who may not have anywhere any nest egg at all, that was certainly the situation that I was in coming up late in their career, possibly facing age … we’re way down the funnel in terms of kind of qualifiers to be talking to people about and if that’s you and you’re listening to this podcast, you’re in the right place. If we were to talk about some broad topic, you’d probably find it uninteresting.

So I would say try and drill down as tightly as you can to find that real pain point. And with regards to the kind of thing you’re going to coach or consultant on, I really do think that you want to have something that I would consider the solution is similar to an aspirin and not a vitamin. What I mean is if in the middle of the night, this would be something that would annoy someone so much that they would get out of bed and go to the store to get an aspirin, that’s the kind of analogy I would use as opposed to something that would be a good to have, a vitamin.

Yeah. So it’s all about severity of the pain and urgency of the pain or urgency to take care of it versus something that’s more proactive, like I take vitamins because it supports my health and I’m being proactive but it’s not really a big concern for me. You want something that somebody wants to get solved or taken care of right now and that’s where you want to insert your coaching or consulting offering. Is that sound right?

Yeah. The more urgent, the more money.

Crank those rates up. Maybe before we go too much further, let’s clarify because I think we’re going to use the term coaching and consulting interchangeably throughout this episode and in my mind, the main difference between those days coaching is more typically more one to one, I am coaching Ian on specific things about his business or his life or his fitness program or whatever. Whereas consulting is like, I may be a consulting an individual, but the implications are for an entire organization or an entire team or something like that.

I think I generally agree. I mean, you think of consulting is more in a business environment, and you think of coaching more on a personal level. I suppose you could talk about getting consulting advice on a financial matter, but it’s six of one half dozen of the other. I think we know what we’re talking about.

Yeah. And I think maybe additionally consulting might be a little bit more on the execution side, like I’m going to give you a plan and help you do it, whereas a coach might be, I’m just going to help you with the thought process, the mentality, here is a plan, you go do it and then come back to me and tell me how it went and we’ll refine and go from there. So maybe that’s a slight nuance, but maybe that’s a personal opinion that I have.

I think maybe that’s a good Segway into if we’re talking about coaching and consulting, what value can you add as a coach or consultant to your clients? So what kinds of things do you bring to the table or can you bring to the table that make it worth it for your clients to pay for your time and attention and energy? And then how can you communicate that value to a potential client?

I think you have to think really hard about that. You want to be as laser focused as you can because people pay for results, they don’t pay for advice, they pay for results. So you want to be focused like a laser on the result that you’re going to deliver.

Now it can be something that’s ongoing, okay, and that’s what I do because the world is constantly changing, but you’re always focused on kind of what is the next result that you’re aiming for with someone, and they should have real clarity about it if there’s a conversation between a coach and a client and the client doesn’t really know what the result is that they’re aiming for, that’s problematic because people pay for results.

Yeah. And I think they’re not just paying for your time is the important point here is, getting on the call is not enough, you have to bring something more to the table, you have to say if you come on as a coaching client for me, what I am going to do for you in the first session is take you from where you are right now and you’re going to walk away with a six month marketing plan that you can go execute on, like pretty tangible.

And I think that what a lot of coaches also bring to the table is a framework or a structure to the way that they have done similar things in the past and they say, “Look, here’s the playbook, here’s what I used, here are the results I got, I’m going to give it to you and I’m going to talk you through it and then you can go and execute on it and not start from scratch, you’re going to have a headstart on getting the results that you want.”

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more you. That just has to be the kind of framework that you’re talking about, and it’s all about the results, that’s why pro athletes do it.

I think the other thing is that there’s kind of this gentle accountability kind of a concept where you have to … coaching is something where you’re not buddies, you’re holding someone accountable for what they need to do and there are people that will not react necessarily immediately to that. You may or may not have a good personality fit, but if you’re going to be effective, you have to kind of find people that don’t drain you on the one hand, and that will also respond to you. And sometimes you have to fire people because they won’t…

And that will also respond to you and sometimes you have to fire people because they wont’ respond.

Yeah, and that’s an unfortunate outcome but you do have to stick to your guns when that happens. That’s part of what makes a good coach is if you’re not willing to hold somebody to the fire for the commitments that they’ve made then you’re not doing your job and you’re not being effective as a coach. We’ve talked about how folks can figure out what they might have to offer as a coach or a consultant and we’ve talked about how they can communicate that value to potential clients so maybe the next place to go is where would you recommend people go to find their clients? They know what they want to offer, they kind of know the space they want to play in but what kind of ponds can they go fish in to find a coaching client and then how do they approach those people and suggest that coaching service as an option for them?

Well I’ll give you my favorite one and then I want to hear your favorite one, okay. My favorite place to go is called Amazon.com. What you do is really simple. You go to Amazon, whatever the topic is, find the book, look at the chapter titles. That will tell you what people are interested in. If you can find a half a dozen books and get a spreadsheet out and just copy, you don’t even have to buy the books although I would recommend you buy the books but just find what the chapter titles are, you’ll find out what people are interested in, what they’re going to pay for I bet. What’s your favorite?

I have one that’s very close to that. What I recommend is folks think about the industry that they want to focus on so maybe that’s healthcare and then go to the websites for the big professional conferences in that space. Then look at the conference agenda and all of those session topics are all either the solution to the pain point or the pain point itself that people in that space are experiencing and then you can use that to reverse engineer your coaching offering. A lot of times you can even find the deck or the video recordings of those conferences after the fact and they’re much cheaper than actually attending in person so you can even go a little bit deeper. Like you said, you really just have to copy the titles of the sessions and you’ll have an option there.

One other place that I love to recommend people go look is just hang out in relevant niche communities online. Find a niche community online and then look at the people that are complaining. If you want to coach freelancers on how to build a better freelance business go to some kind of online community where freelancers hang out and listen to what they complain about, “I don’t know, should I be a LLC or a S Corp and pay myself a salary?” Or, “What accounting software do you use, they all look the same to me.” All those things are places where you can inject yourself and say, “Hey, I’ve been freelancing for 15 years and I went through all of that, I have all the answers. I have a system that works for me and I’d love to share it with you as a coaching client.” What do you think about this set up?

I couldn’t agree more. I go to the Facebook forums and I’m a member of a number, as I mentioned, a number of E-commerce Facebook forums and find people all the time that are looking for someone whose just a little bit ahead of them and where I can add value I offer a lot of free advice and naturally approach me individually and I think it’s a wonderful place. Also, I mentioned for some people Read It works really well. There’s some discussion, you can get Read It in some of the private forums like that too but forums are an excellent place to be.

One other place that just came to mind that people love to, I say love to complain but they love to voice their challenges is Twitter. You can search by hashtag or a key word on Twitter and people are going to say, “Ah, I’m so frustrated trying to find a project management system that works for me.” Or, “I just keep landing problem clients that don’t understand the deliverables of my scoping engagement.” Or something like that and then you can inject yourself there and say I’ve run into the same problem, here’s an article I wrote, I also do some coaching if that’s something you’re interested in.

Yeah, I would just caution people that I think what you want to do when you do figure this out is you want to figure out what is the center of the fairway where the bulk of the thinking is and the bulk of the advice is and what is going to be the differentiator that you bring to the table, what’s the different perspective that you’re going to bring to the table. Keep an eye open for what is the common wisdom and how you would contrast what the common wisdom to what you’re providing. Here we talk to people that don’t have enough money for retirement and we’re not in the save your way to prosperity bucket. There’s not enough time to invest for most of the people that would care about the Red Pill Retirement podcast. Here it’s all based, not on the nest egg, it’s the no nest egg retirement plan.

This is all about cashflow, this is all about creating money outside of your day job which will ultimately sustain you potentially when your career ends or if you choose to end your career will be something that you’d love to do when it ends. You want to be able to have the alternative spin on things and that’s what you want to look for too.

I think a great way to do that is once you figure out where you want to play, let’s say you worked in HR your whole life and you want to be a career coach, just Google career coach and look at the first three or four pages of results and start capturing the websites of those other career coaches out there. If you lay those websites out next to each other, let’s say you lay five out, I bet three of them say pretty much the exact same thing and then the other two might have a slight tweak to it. If you can find a differentiating offer or you can focus on a sub community like, I am a career coach for software developers who are looking to leverage their current salary to get a higher one at some other company, boom, that is a niche right there.

It is, absolutely.

That’s kind of an evolutionary process that coaches can go through when they’re getting their start.

No-one want to talk to somebody who has broad experience, everything is all about proper segmentation, just in every industry. I don’t care if you’re in the banking and finance industry like I’m in, your legal practices are segmented by the disciplines for the various industries they [inaudible 00:18:05]. Investment banks, you can go industry after industry, it’s the same way and it’s exactly the same way in coaching. The person that the elite athlete that the running back is looking for is probably someone that has the skillsets and has probably been a running back or only coached running backs. That’s the way I would think about it in using a sports analogy or a sports example.

Yeah, there’s a reason that some of the best athletes end up retiring and becoming coaches because one, they still love the game and they can’t get away from it and they want it to be a part of their life but two, they have a unique experience and if I am an inspiring NFL running back and there is a team that has a coach that’s a former NFL running back who’ll be the running back’s coach where do you think I’m going? Where do you think I want to be? I want to learn from that guy because he’s a hall of famer. He was one of the most elite running backs ever and I want him to coach me so I can achieve the same results. That’s exactly what we’re talking about but just in a business setting.

One of the untold things in this results category that we were talking about is the whole mindset issue. Someone whose been in those shoes knows what’s going on in their head. I will tell you when you know that you’ve found someone that’s been there before and they know what you’re thinking about and they can put themselves in your shoes and they connect with you, you know you found the right person.

Yeah, and there’s also a reason that when you graduate medical school you don’t just become a doctor, you go through residency and you shadow other surgeons. You look over their shoulder and they say, “Hey, when you come in here for the first time you’re going to want to do this but that’s going to cause a problem and here’s what you do instead and here’s my method for it.” That’s just a form of coaching. We’ve just systemized it and we call it a residency instead of coaching but that’s really what it is.

Well, and by the way, the first time a young physician has someone die on the table I’m sure it’s an older physician that puts their arm around them and says look, this is what happens, this is what we deal with in our chosen profession. Fortunately that’s not my profession but that’s the kind of situation that you need to find. It’s something where you can anticipate what the person that you’re going to be talking to, what they’re going to be going through next.

I think that’s a great point because it’s not just about training and teaching, it’s about that support system and the accountability measures that we talked about. We talked about how to find your niche, we talked about where to find clients and how to approach them, maybe we’ll get a little bit more tactical in how do you get your start? What kind of tools and resources do you need to get started? I know it doesn’t take much but maybe talk about what you use, because I know you do some coaching or what you recommend other people use to get started quickly.

We chatted about this a little bit before and there are a number of high ticket courses that can help people and I have not used the high ticket courses because I’d gone the other direction which is what we talked about which is actually drilling down on what are the results that people are looking for. I think I figured out those things in a couple of different areas where I coach people. One is from my professional work which is what we’re talking about here and having gone through this I think I can coach people and anticipate the problems and I certainly have walked in their shoes. In the E-commerce world we have done the same thing so we’re just a little bit ahead, a few years ahead of somebody whose not done anything so I haven’t done the big ticket courses.

I suppose that if you were really kind of lost and wanted to start at ground zero you could spend a couple of thousand dollars. I don’t think that they would help you necessarily find the perfect niche. I think that you can do that, in our community we have people doing that every day and certainly not the $2,000 one time course mode at all. I think it’s looking deep within, using this framework around what is the result that you’re going to deliver people, thinking of the three or four or five steps it’s going to take to get there and then scoping it out, putting it on paper. Once you’ve been able to find a few people that will actually send you money for it then you can take that money and you can invest in a presence like a website and other things that might attract people, ultimately create everything from initial offers for people to buy all the way to very high ticket offers. There’s a whole food chain of things you can do.

The first thing I think you want to do in order to prove your concept if find people who will give you any little bit amount of money to pick your brain on some topic that you can reasonably help and figure out where that’s going to go.

Yeah, it really doesn’t take much to get started and think at a basic level you can come up with maybe three to five ideas that you have for coaching services you can offer, put those in a one page word document or a Google doc and just start showing those to people that you think could benefit from your services and see if you can get a couple of people to take on and sign on with you then all you need is a payment processor and some kind of video conferencing platform like what we’re using today and you can start coaching right away. If you want to even fall short of that, just create a profile on a site like Clarity.fm and start shipping that link around and say here are the coaching services I offer, you can sign up and just get your first few clients. Then, like you said, use that to level up [inaudible 00:23:55] website and then maybe once you have a niche and you have your process set up then maybe that expensive course makes sense so you can see how you can improve …

Then, maybe that expensive course makes sense. So, if you can see how you can improve your coaching process based on somebody else’s, rather than taking that as gospel from the start.

Yeah, I think absolutely what you want to do is start to get involved in trying to scope out where you think you could add some value for people. And then come up with what the results are that you would be able to deliver to people, scope those out in a document. Talk that through, see if it makes sense. When you can find people that will actually pay for that, then you can develop your presence. And then ultimately to turbo charge your efforts, you’ll figure out what you need to get to the next level. Maybe you’re having problems attracting clients. Maybe you’re having problems developing your sequence of offers. But you can then kind of like a laser, focus on where you need help as opposed to throwing a whole bunch of money at an all in comprehensive coaching program that is not really going to be niche focused, it’s going to be very generalized.

There aren’t niche focused coaching programs really that I know of for most people.

So what we’re talking about really is validate your concept first, and then go for that course to figure out how to process, systematize it, make your processes, and scale it up from there, so that you can increase your earning potential. I think maybe that’s a good place for us to tie things together, as I think people are listening at home and saying, “All right, great. I love all this, so what’s in it for me? What do I stand to earn as a coach? And what is my time commitment, and my energy commitment, and my resource commitment that I am sacrificing to generate those earnings. And how do I do that maybe in parallel with the day job that I already have?” And I know that you have that experience, Ian, so what thoughts do you have around that?

Well, you know, the rates you get are directly dependent on the results that you deliver. In general, people that do things in the B2C space are less well paid than people that are doing things in the B2B place. And the reason for that is really very simple, it goes back to Robert Kiyosaki’s stuff. When you’re selling to people and they’re paying out of their own pocket, they’re going to be stingier than if you’re paying to somebody who’s running a business, and they can use it as a write off. And that’s generally true in most things in this world.

But good high end coaching is something that … the sky is the limit. So, I would hazard a guess to anyone listening, you can do everything from tutor people in English to do very sophisticated coaching that’s $10,000 or more for a year, with very defined parameters where you have very little one on one. You can do group coaching, one on one coaching. You can … the number of different iterations are really unlimited. So you can find things that kind of fit the lifestyle that you want to have. You can find things that fit the way the results work in the area that you’re coaching. And kind of figure it out. But I would say early on what you want to do is do a fair amount of one on one coaching so you get direct feedback, and are able to attack what is on people’s minds. And then ultimately take that and spin that into something you can more broadly apply.

So, err to do more one on one coaching early on, and think that you’ll probably do less of that later.

Yeah, and I think what you just said is a great summary of why of the three buckets that we’re going to talk about, coaching, consulting, freelancing, and ecommerce, coaching might be one of the most attractive, because the barrier to entry is the lowest. The earning potential is still uncapped, and you can scale it up or down to fit your specific needs. It doesn’t take a whole lot of tech, and you already have the expertize.

So, I think that’s the whole reason why we’ve put this episode together today, is because this is a great way for folks to get started and explore entrepreneurship kind of passively or on their own, at their own discretion. And then if it’s not a good fit they can try something else. But it’s easy to get started, it’s easy to figure out if it is the right fit. All you’ve got to do is take that action today. So, maybe before we wrap up here Ian, do you have any parting words for the folks at home? I know we’re running short on time, we could go another 30 minutes on this, and maybe we will in a future episode.

Look, I think we could probably do a whole other 30 minutes on coaching, I think it’s a wonderful place. What we’ll do is we’ll go get a couple of coaches to come on the program and get people a chance to hear a couple of different flavors. But there are seven-figure coaches out there, and there are people who just do it part time. So, it’s a wonderful place for someone to start.

All right, you heard it there, committed, we’re going to get a couple of coaches on in a future episode. We’ll talk about specifically how they got their start, what their systems look like, and how they run their coaching business maybe even on the side of a full time day job in a traditional office setting. So, looking forward to those conversations. Ian, thank you so much as always for your time and your insights today. We’ll look forward to seeing you on the next episode, and those future episodes about specific coaching examples.

James, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you, thanks again for being the host today.

Same to you, take care.

Thanks.

All right folks, so there you have it, that wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond, who is always good for a few knowledge bombs every time we talk. But before we let you go, let’s quickly recap what we talked about in today’s episode. First, we talked about the importance of and the demand for coaching services in the market. We talked about how all elite performers, including athletes, surgeons, and CEOs have some kind of a coach that helps them get the best performance out of themselves every time they take the field, enter the operating room, or hit the boardroom.

We also talked about how to find what type of coaching you are qualified to provide, and what we talked about there was how you should take your skills, your interests, your personal experiences, and combine them with existing pain points that are in the market, and figure out where the overlap of the two happens. And use that to dictate where you start to explore what kind of coaching services you can offer.

We also talked about how you should prioritize the pain points that are both severe and urgent. So, something that people want to solve very quickly, or something that is very painful for them in their business. And that is where you want to focus your coaching efforts as you get in front of prospective clients.

Next, we talked about how to establish your offering and find your first clients. We shared a couple of tips and tricks like reverse engineering your coaching offering by searching Amazon that are about the same kind of topic or space that you’d like to play in, looking at those chapter titles, and letting those dictate the coaching services that you offer. We talked about a similar strategy that you can use by finding the professional conferences that exist in the industry that you want to focus on, and looking at the title of the individual sessions that are on the agenda. Those can often be a great indicator of pain points in the market, and places where you can do more research for how you might be able to deliver value as a coach or a consultant.

Next we talked about how you can tap into existing networks or communities where people are complaining about business problems that they have, and use those conversations as opportunities to open the door for potential coaching clients.

The next big topic we talked about was what it takes to get started, and the interesting point here is it really doesn’t take much. You can get started as a coach or a consultant with a simple Word document that outlines your offering and what people need to invest to get the results that you’re promising them. A conference calling solutions, like Zoom or Skype. And some way to accept payment from them, whether that’s PayPal, or Stripe, or even Check. It really doesn’t take much to get started, all you need is the skills, expertize, potential clients, and a way to communicate with them and deliver the value through conversations, accountability, and meetings.

And finally, we talked about what you can expect to earn, and what you can expect to sacrifice in exchange for those earnings. And the fact of the matter here is that earning potential for a coach or a consultant is unlimited, and the time commitment can be as much or as little as you want, which I think when you take that last point in combination with the [inaudible 00:32:40] that we covered right before that, it pretty much sums up why coaching is an excellent option for someone who is looking to establish an additional income stream as a way to catch up or accelerate their retirement savings.

So, I love this topic that we talked about today. As always, we’ll link up any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes, and those are available at redpillretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed our conversation, and if you haven’t already, please consider subscribing, sharing with a friend, or leaving us a review in your favorite podcast directory.

So, until next time, best of luck in all that you do, and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Red Pill Retirement Podcast.

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Predicting and Planning For Getting Laid Off

Predicting and Planning For Getting Laid Off

 
 
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Predicting and Planning For Getting Laid Off

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Nobody expects to be laid off, but every day there is someone in the workforce who loses their job unexpectedly. The good news is, we can all take steps to prevent or prepare for the worst, so that if bad news comes our way, we can soften the blow and land safely on our feet.

We’re not here to hype up some kind of doomsday scenario, but the fact of the matter is that layoffs can happen at any time, to any person, for any number of reasons. The scary part is that a lot of those reasons are outside of our control.

So, in this episode we’re talking about how you can proactively identify and plan for a potential layoff scenario so that you and your family are prepared to weather the storm emotionally and financially.

You’ll learn about:

  • What warning signs you should be on the lookout for
  • What steps you can take to try to avoid getting laid off altogether
  • Three areas of life that you should always have a handle on
  • What you can do on the side to prepare for the worst case scenario

References and Resources:

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement Podcast, where we give you the raw unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401K’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

In this episode of the Red Pill Retirement Podcast, Ian and I discuss how to predict and plan for a worst case scenario, getting laid off from your job. We’re not here to hype up some kind of Doomsday scenario, but the fact of the matter is that layoffs can happen at any time to any person for any number of reasons. And the scary part is that a lot of those reasons are outside of our control. So, today we’re talking about how you can proactively identify and plan for a potential layoff, so that you and your family are prepared to weather the storm both emotionally and financially.

This episode is full of actionable advice, so I’d recommend that you get something to write with, because you’re going to want to take notes. As always, I’ll be back on the other side of the conversation to tie up any loose ends. So, without further ado, let’s dive into my conversation with Ian.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the show. My name is James Sauers, and I’m joined once again by Mr. Ian Bond. Ian, it looks beautiful int background there today, how are things going on your end?

Bright and sunny here in the middle east James, great to see it looks the same right behind you. The wall’s the same color.

Yeah, well that’s the home office for you. I mean the weather is not as nice here in Cleveland, although today I think it’s in the seventies or eighties, because [inaudible 00:01:43] for this time of year so far. So we’re getting outside and enjoying it as much as we can. Unfortunately, the topic we’re talking about today isn’t all that enjoyable, but we are going to take a little bit of a nuances spin to it, to make it a positive experience for the folks listening at home. So, we’re going to talk about a very unpleasant experience in getting laid off, and how you can predict that, how you can look for some warning signs, and how you can more importantly have a plan so you’re prepared in the event of a layoff to continue to generate income and support yourself and possibly your family if you have one indefinitely.

So, we’re going to talk about that today. Maybe the best place to start is I think everybody has a story of someone in their personal network, whether it’s a family member or a friend, who got laid off unexpectedly and didn’t have a plan. And they suffered through it for a few months. So, I’m guessing you have a similar story, do you have something that you wanted to share with us today to kind of illustrate the point?

Yeah, I think that these things fall into a couple of buckets, right? One is the totally unforeseen circumstance where maybe there’s a turn in the economy and there’s a downsizing, something happens in your management chain. We’re talking now about employees as opposed to career professionals. And then the other one is the black swan event, which is kind of a financial crisis.

I’ve got a good friend for example that had a blowout with his boss in the mid 2000’s, and didn’t like ethically and morally the way things were being handled. And he was told to stay home. Living in New York City, in less than a year he’d pretty much exhausted the pile of savings that he had, the liquid savings. He didn’t go in and liquidate things. He was lucky, because the markets were quite good back then, this was 2005, markets were quite good, he was able to get employed fairly quickly, call it 10 months. And averted having to sell real estate at a bargain and things like that.

But I think that that’s now … a situation like that, where a career professional in their maybe late forties at that time can find a job, I think you’ve got to plan for a year to a year and a half. And you better have your finances screwed down. So, that would be the one that’s away from the cataclysmic financial crisis. I know of people going back to the dot com crisis that got laid off, or industries changed. And we all know people in the financial crisis that had problems.

Now, we’re looking at an economy that’s been expanding since March of 2009, so nine and a half years. I don’t think there are any credible strategists or economists on Wall Street that thinks that there’s going to be a recession in 2019. But when is optimism going to peak and rollover, and when will people scale back? Or could you go through a merger and see the consequences of a merger and have a downsizing?

You have a lot of reasons to be cautious all the time, and I don’t want to be a doomsayer, and I’m not a doomsayer, but we are getting pretty late in the economic expansion.

Yeah, and you know, I think that there are a couple of important points that I want to hammer home. One is the more skilled you are, the more experienced you are, the more seasoned you are, and the higher up you are inside of an organization, the harder it is once you get laid off to find a similar position somewhere else, right? Like the number of positions available are few and far between compared to when you were just a mid-level manager or something like that.

So, if you’re someone listening at home and you’re in that position, you should be especially concerned about a layoff, because it’s going to take you that year, year and a half to find a comparable position, or you’re going to have to settle for less, which is never where you want to be. The other things that came to mind while you were talking there is a lot of people think that when you get laid off or fired, that’s a performance issue, or something like you illustrated where it’s a conflict of opinion. But that’s not always case, there are many reasons outside of your control that you can get laid off and suddenly find yourself looking for a job unexpectedly, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Market forces, acquisitions and mergers. Those things can all result in layoff, and you might not even see it coming.

So that’s kind of why we’re even having this conversation today, because, again, not to be a doomsayer, but the fact of the matter is, this can happen to anybody the any time, and you might not necessarily know that it’s right around the corner.

I think you’re spot on. In fact, the number of people that don’t have a gap on their resume now that have been in the game for 20 or 25 years or more, I mean they are few and far between. And there’s a story, usually it’s a merger, or the financial crisis. Everyone understands that there was no one in control, there were financial institutions, industrial institutions that no longer exist, or are much skinner today than they were then.

So, I think you’re right. And you have to be prepared for it. And there are things you can do, whether you have a view that it’s something that could happen quickly, or if you want to think about it longer term.

Yeah, and I think this sets us up for the transition here, because you mentioned the last recession and how a lot of people are still wearing the scars from getting laid off or getting fired, or getting downsized during that period because of those rough economic times. And those same people are sitting there and saying, “I never want to go through this again. I never want to be caught unaware, I never want to be unprepared.” So, they are taking steps to have kind of a safety net, and they’re doing that a lot of times through entrepreneurship.

And I know that you have some folks in your community that are doing that. We’re going to get into some specific examples, but maybe where we should start before we do that is what are some of the warning signs? What are some of the red flags that people should be looking for if they’re in a traditional employment setting to know that hey, there is maybe some fluctuation going on, there is some volatility going on, and I could be subject to that. I’m not sure if I am, but I need to start thinking about this now?

Sure. I think what we mentioned earlier is that, look, from just a macro point of view, you’ve got a very optimistic economy right now. And by the way, the rest of the world is not that optimistic right now. So, is the United States economy going to pull up the rest of the globe, or is the United States going to revert to where the rest of the globe is? Because the rest of the globe isn’t that buoyant. That’s one.

Secondly, everyone has got their own idiosyncratic issues with regards to the industry they’re in. If their industry is subject to all of the changes that we’ve talked about, and I’ll say it again, there’s been more change in terms of technology in the past decade than there has been in the prior 10 decades, that’s what the technologists are saying. If you’re in an industry where there’s that kind of change going on, you better have your ears and eyes open.

And then thirdly, internally, whenever there’s a change in leadership, if your division is underperforming, if your boss is in a tight situation with his boss, if the CEO gets swapped out for a new CEO. It’s domino’s man. Again, if it’s you, you know it. You know who you are. If you’re listening to this and you’re in a car or at the gym or something, you know who you are. But those are the bigger picture things that I think you have to be aware of.

Yeah, so some of the things I heard in there are emerging technologies that might replace things that were previously done by people, or teams of people. Consolidation, any kind of volatility in personal relationships above you, in the work chart. Those things are all red flags that you can look for and be observant of. And I think that’s maybe the real learning point here, is to be observant of the environment around you. I mean a lot of times it’s very easy when you’re an employee to get stuck in the day to day activities of your role. But look around you, take a minute to listen to what other people are saying and explore where people around you in the work chart are, and what conversations they’re having, and what kind of office politics are taking place. Because we hate to get involved with it, because they exist, and those things have secondary and tertiary implications that can result in your position being …

I saw an internet meme today that said that there’s never been a worse time to be a knowledge worker, and there’s never been a worse time to be a factory worker. So that covers a lot of people.

Yeah, I know. I mean I guess you want to be somewhere in the middle is what they’re suggesting. So, you know, I think that we gave folks some ammunition there to know when something’s on the horizon. Maybe next we can talk about, okay, I see something that concerns me, and I don’t really have a plan in place now. So, let’s say maybe two situations. I see signs that indicate that I’m faced with a layoff short term, in the next few weeks to few months. Six month outlook, or something like that. And then the other situation would be long term, like hey, I see things that make me uneasy, maybe they’re talking merger and acquisition with another company, and I think that within the next 12 years, if that happens, I could get laid off.

So, what do those two scenarios look like for someone …

It’s 12 years, if that happens, I could get laid off. So what do those two scenarios look like for somebody who is trying to prepare for the undesirable outcome of being laid off?

I think, let me just say that I see a lot of stuff in kind of the personal finance world that says that you need to have three months of savings in order to tide you over, and I think that woefully underestimates what you need to have. I think you need to have a year plus, and I think you need to have a disaster plan where you could lower your overhead and stretch that year into even more.

If you think something is going to happen in the next 90 days, I don’t think I can help you. I mean, I give up. Stockpile cash, go slow on repaying any major debts. Certainly if you have a chance to get liquid on something, do it. If it’s that quick, there’s not a whole lot you can do. If it’s 90 days, even six months for that matter.

If it’s kind of, the talk, kind of longer term, over a year, maybe a couple years, you’re more worried about a macro event like the economy or a financial crisis, or there’s an ongoing shift in your industry, I think there are several things you can do there. We have a concept of most valuable employee. The whole concept of being the most valuable employee, there are just a ton of things you can do there. Network within your company, within different divisions. Be the one that crosses across your institution and is known to be somebody that’s easy to deal with. That helps your credibility inside your division and your currency with your boss.

Do things and be a thought leader outside your firm. Partner up with somebody. Look, the whole world is crazy about going digital. Find somebody in kind of the technology space that affects your firm and be a thought leader. Write something. Be known for it. Go to conferences. Be the person that represents that kind of initiative at your firm. Get on these key committees. I think that there’s wonderful opportunities to raise your profile outside your firm by being involved in charities. Write a book. Contribute to articles. These are all things that kind of pay off longer term and will either help you keep the job or help you get the next job. But they take time. These are seeds that have to be planted and you’ll have to cultivate them. But I think it’s something that will bear fruit, without question.

It’s very, very difficult and I’ve been in the position during the financial crisis where I was kind of one of the last people standing because we had to, every quarter, reduce our head count in a division of 3000. You do that by basically going after the highest priced people. If you’ve got a mandate from the C-suite, you go after the highest-priced people because that’s how you get to the numbers that the finance guys tell you, you got to get to. It’s really tough to let the people go that are thought leaders, that are very public, that navigate within the firm well and have a lot of support in a lot of divisions, all of the things I mentioned.

I think a lot of that is just good, general advice about professional development. It sounds like make yourself indispensable. Continue to learn and develop skills in emerging areas so that if the environment shifts, you have the knowledge and skills to adapt to that and you’re still a valuable member of the team. Because a lot of times some of that networking and just relationship building can result in somebody knowing that your position is being cut, but finding a landing place for you somewhere else inside of the organization-

Absolutely.

Or making a referral to another company or something like that. That’s just good business practice. Maybe the advice that we’re giving today is be intentional and disciplined about doing that now and consistently over time, so that if the time comes for you to have some kind of change in your career, you already have sown those seeds and they are growing, and you have a personal brand, and you’re an authority in some space, and everybody kind of wants to hire you. You say, all right, sucks for that company over there to let them go, I want him with me.

Couldn’t agree more. You nailed it squarely on the head. I just want to loop back to what we said at the beginning which, generally, it’s not your fault. The only antidote for that is to have the disaster plan. That’s to have the cash in the bank, liquid, a potentially alternative place that you can wait out the storm and hope that it’s only going to be a temporary kind of period of time for you to get onto someplace else.

If we do go through another financial crisis and it takes more than a year, it could take up to two years, you need to really think about what you might have to do to reinvent yourself. It may be that your industry is going to be reconstituted as something entirely different than what it is today. That’s what happened to a lot of industries during the financial crisis. That’s where I think finding a low-cost place to live, doing alternative education, finding something almost completely different. We have people in our community that are building kind of side incomes in order to cushion the blow, so they don’t go from 100 cents of income to zero cents of income.

Yeah, that’s where I want to go to next, but before we get into that, what I’d also like to circle back on and go a little deeper on is the expenses side of things. You mentioned that some folks recommend three months of living expenses and that sounds ridiculously low to me. I’ve always heard six to nine months, and that’s at your current living expenses, so your quality of life doesn’t change, and if you cut expenses somewhere, you could extend that to 12 months or longer. Before we hopped on the call recording here, you did mention a couple of areas that make it a little tougher to increase expenses, like marriage and having a family. Did you want to talk about those items here?

Well, we were chatting, if you recall, about people who avoided this and they fall into three buckets. One is no job jiggle. I have a good friend that was at Lehman Brothers and a week later he was at Credit Suisse when Lehman Brothers folded. He never married so he never got divorced and he has no children. Divorces and children cost money which I’m a family man so I’m a big believer in family, but they cost money. The third thing, he had been healthy, thank goodness.

I mentioned we have a family member that has significant healthcare expenses and about to incur more, and because of the job has got incredible insurance and won’t come out of pocket for almost next to nothing, which is just an amazing thing to me. So I think those three things. If you’re lucky enough to have avoided a job jiggle, if you have got a good, solid marriage and you’ve got your kids’ education funded, that’s wonderful.

The one that you have to worry about is health and that’s a wild card for everyone, so make sure you have adequate health insurance for yourself. Those are the three big things if you can avoid them. But a lot of times those aren’t things you can avoid. What you can, obviously, do, the two big expenses are your housing expense and the second biggest is transportation, and that’s away from your tax bill. Those are the things you can work on, but you have to attack expenses as brutally as you can, as ruthlessly as you can.

I like the, the reason I wanted to circle back on those three pillars is because I think they illustrate a lot of the concepts that we’ve already talked about. For example, in the story that you shared, I’m willing to bet that new position, that one week job jiggle, the limited time frame on that is because there was a relationship that already existed that he leveraged to get the new position.

Spot on, spot on. Let me be clear. He left Lehman Brothers, called me the day of the crisis, called me from the office. Later the phone didn’t work. Called me when he went and got a personal BlackBerry, got picked up at Credit Suisse because his biggest client was not a client of theirs, he was on the institutional desk.

Now, I used to have brunch with this guy every Saturday, just about every Saturday, and he was on the institutional equity trading desk, and we always joked that he was going to be replaced by an F9 key, because everything’s going electronic. So all you’d have to do is hit the F9 key, you wouldn’t phone in an order to anybody, okay. He ultimately was replaced like all aging institutional equity sales guys are by a younger guy. Younger guys are cheaper.

His big client ended up going to jail and it didn’t take him two years after his biggest client went to jail that he was happily retired. And I say happily because he had eight figures in the bank. Never having had, had lived well within his means and never had a job jiggle, was unmarried and was fortunate to be healthy. Your right, he had relationship with a phenomenal client that got him in the door to the next place.

Yeah, so that first bucket is all about relationships. The second bucket, look, we’re not telling you to not start a family.

No, no, of course not.

We’re not telling you to not get married, but what we’re saying is have a handle on, because a lot of times, those result in fixed expenses. Children are fixed expenses. Let’s face it.

Yes.

They go to daycare, they have diapers and stuff when they’re young, and then when they’re older they have school and sports and everything. So they come with a certain amount of financial burden, and you just need to be prepared for that. Because that stuff, typically, that you can’t cut in a worse case scenario. You do have to take care of your family so when you’re planning out your safety net and your financial runway in the event of a layoff, you have to consider those things and know what those costs are. Then finally, your health. You need to take care of yourself. Again, that’s kind of a wild card.

Yeah.

But you need to do everything you can so that there aren’t any excuses for you to have an unforeseen health issue in combination with a layoff, because that is a catastrophe and that’s something that really nobody can prepare for. But if you are proactive about your health and you take care of yourself over the long term, it shouldn’t be much of an issue unless you just get dealt a bad hand by life and, well, what are you going to do there?

Yeah. And let me just come back on the family issue because I think, I’ve written about this. One of the biggest issues I had when I saw my finances turn was with regard-

… issues I had when I saw my finances turn was with regards to the expectations that I thought my wife and kids had about the lifestyle we were leading. I was racked with anxiety because I could see our finances going in the wrong direction. Every time I looked at my wife and kids, I could see their expectations about what our future would look like and what people in our social circle were doing. I just couldn’t make our situation come together anywhere near what I though the expectations were. I carried that around for a really long time, and it was incredibly unhealthy.

Ultimately, I had a conversation with my wife and we finally got on the same page. In a nanosecond, my wife recognized it for what it was, and it was all me. I was an idiot. I should have shared more, and we sorted it out. We worked together as a team, and now we solved for it and I carried around all of that anguish needlessly for a long time.

But you’re right. There’s not much you can do on the job front. There’s some things you can do longer term. On the health front, to a certain extent, you’re in charge of your own destiny there, but there are some wildcards there, also.

I love it that you tied it back to family, because at the end of the day if you do get laid off or you do experience a career transition that’s unexpected, your family and your friends, they’re still going to love you. You’re not a failure. They’re here to help. If you have set a quality or standard of living that’s up here, they’re willing to bring that down to make ends meet. That’s what family does. We all come in together and we’re going to make it work.

Maybe for the last few minutes of the conversation here, we’ve talked about what folks can do in the office and what folks can do at home to put themselves in a position where they don’t get laid off. To prepare and hope that that never happens and look out for the red flags in the event that it might.

What we haven’t talked about yet is what we alluded to at the very beginning of our conversation, which is there are folks inside of your community that are building their own safety net so that in the event that the worst case scenario comes up, they have revenue and income that can stabilize them through that kind of fluctuation. Let’s talk about some examples of what’s going on in the No Nest Egg Retirement community.

Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s known as the red pill, okay? That’s why we’re here. We’re here to talk about this. The opportunities are just abundant right now, and there are people in the communities doing all kinds of interesting things. One of my good friends, George, who I have written about, has got a couple of things going. One is he is in a business-to-business niche, where he is essentially leveraging a skill of using technologies. In addition, he is a master salesman in addition to he’s got a coaching program he’s developing for younger salespeople. There are no training programs anymore for salespeople. So he’s got a couple of different things he’s working on.

I have other people. A young fellow that I’m counseling, coaching on who is doing eCommerce. He’s developing that. Then we have a number of people, and we’re going to release some survey results in the next … By about Thanksgiving, because we’ve done a fairly large survey on how much people are short on their retirement income needs. It’s falling into a fairly tight range between two and $4,000. I’ll have more specific numbers when we get done with the survey, but that’s not a lot of money. We’re seeing a lot of people that are very interested in developing freelancing skills and things around where they can make a bit of money, around specific things that they can do for other people. There are a number of very interesting things there, particularly in this whole new world of digital media, which is wide open. There’s a lot of very interesting things that people can do there. So that’s an exciting thing, exciting place to talk about.

Yeah. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough time today to go deeper into that, but the good news is we are going to talk about your options for establishing that side income while you’re still working your job. They come in three buckets that we talked about before. You’ve got your coaching and consulting, your freelancing, and your eCommerce, your selling products and goods online. We’re going to go deeper into each one of those in the next three episodes, and you’ll have all the details and actual content you need there. The point here is you don’t have to quit your job to start doing any of those three options, and you can start generating income now on the side so that in the event of a layoff, you land on your feet. You have some money coming in, and you can scale that side income up to a full-time thing or let it sustain you through that layoff period until you find another full-time job and take that and start working again.

The numbers I mentioned are really easy and achievable, but you’ve got to start. You have to plan for it. It’s something that takes a little bit of runway to get up to full speed. You absolutely can do it at nights and weekends. You basically can manage it. We talked about this before. You can manage your day and your schedule around this. I know some incredibly busy people that are doing this, and they’re able to do it. Now, you have to give stuff up, and that stuff is Game of Thrones and stuff like that that you would think you would have to give up, but you’re going to have to make some sacrifices to have that peace of mind. It’s absolutely worth it. It’s absolutely doable, and you make that deposit now and it pays forever.

Yep. That’s exactly what we’re going to get into. Like I said, we’re going to go deep into each one of those options. We’re going to tell you what you need to get started, some of the sacrifices you need to make, what the potential upside of each one is. So stay tuned for those if that’s something you’re interested in, but for today … Excuse me … that’s going to wrap up our time. Ian, thank you so much for all of your insights and stories. They’re always great to hear. We really appreciate it.

Thanks, James. I thought it might be a dour session. I thought it might be doom and gloom. I’m glad we came away with I think some constructive suggestions for people to think about.

Yeah. I don’t do dour well, so I try to bring the positivity and optimism. That’s just how I go through life. Hopefully the folks at home got that general sense and that it’s not doom and gloom. You just have to take ownership. Take responsibility. Be disciplined and have a plan, and you’re going to be just fine regardless of what happens.

Be alert, man. Be alert.

Yep. All right. Thank you so much, Ian. We’ll talk to you soon.

Thanks, James.

All right, folks. There you have it. That wraps up my conversation with Ian Bond, who always comes to the table with valuable knowledge and insights and usually a few good stories to go with it.

Let’s quickly recap what we talked about today. First, we talked about the warning signs that you should be on the lookout for when it comes to a potential layoff. We talked about emerging technologies that can replace what you do or make it redundant. We talked about mergers and acquisitions. They can always result in consolidation of teams and layoffs. We talked about office politics and how you should keep your ear to the ground and listen to some of the conversations that are happening around you, because they can be early indicators of change that is on the horizon.

Next, we talked about what steps you can take to try to avoid a layoff. We talked about how you can nurture relationships and establish your professional authority and your personal brand and make yourself indispensable at work by constantly gaining new knowledge and skills that gives you a leg up over the people that might be on the block to be retained or cut along with you when the time comes.

We also talked about the three buckets of life that you should always have a handle on. Ian referred to job jiggle or the potential to be laid off and be unemployed for a certain amount of time until you can find another job. We recommended that you address that by always nurturing strong relationships and a strong professional network so that in the event that that happens, you can land on your feet elsewhere inside of the organization or with another company.

We also talked about family and how you should have a handle on your marriage and your children. Frankly, those are usually fixed expenses that in the event of a layoff, you cannot avoid and you still have to pay for. So at the very least, you want to make sure you know what those fixed expenses are and plan accordingly to have a safety net and a runway in the event that you are laid off so that you can continue to take care of yourself and your family.

Finally, we talked about health and how you should be proactive about maintaining your health early on so that you don’t run into any issues in the event that you are laid off and you lose those health benefits. You want to have yourself in the best possible condition that you can so you are prepared to weather the storm in that regard.

Finally, we talked about some things that you can do on the side of your day job to make sure that you have income streams established in the event that you are laid off. Those fall into three big buckets. They are freelancing, coaching and consulting, and eCommerce. In the next few episodes, we’re going to dive deeper into each one of those and provide specific details about how you can get started, what it takes to get started, and the potential earnings and time commitment that you’re looking at to be involved in such a thing.

As always, we’ll link up to any tools or resources we discussed in the show notes. Those are available at redpilretirement.com. I hope you enjoyed our conversation. If you haven’t already, you consider subscribing to the podcast, sharing it with a friend, or leaving us a review in your favorite podcast directory. It helps us reach more people and deliver more value to folks who may not have a high level of confidence in their current retirement plan and are looking for an alternative way to either catch up or get ahead.

Until next time, best of luck in all that you do, and we’ll look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast.

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How Women Can Take Charge of Their Retirement Plan

How Women Can Take Charge of Their Retirement Plan

 
 
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How Women Can Take Charge of Their Retirement Plan

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There are a variety of reasons that could be drivers of the retirement savings gap that many women are facing…

  • Prioritization – more focused on short-term financial needs
  • Wage gap – often paid less to do the same job
  • Maternity leave – leaving the workforce to raise a family
  • Personal leave – leaving the workforce to care for a sick loved one
  • Divorce – may be without an existing job/career at point of separation
  • Solo parenthood – single mothers are far too common

Regardless of the source of the issue, the reality is that women, on average, save much less for retirement than their male counterparts.

This might not seem like a big concern at first, but when you consider that the average human life expectancy has never been higher and women tend to live longer than men, you can imagine a scenario where a woman could easily outlive the financial runway she has established for herself.

In this episode, we talk about ways that women can use entrepreneurial endeavors to not only catch up to their savings goals, but also create streams of income that can continue to sustain their lifestyle for the rest of their days.

You’ll learn about:

  • Why women often fall behind on their savings goals
  • What types of businesses women can start on the side to accelerate their savings plan
  • What types of business endeavors are trending among women in the No Nest Egg Retirement community and elsewhere
  • What steps you should take if you want to get your retirement plan back on track as soon as possible

References and Resources:

The No Nest Egg Retirement Community
ARTICLE: How Women Are Improving Their Retirement Outlook
ARTICLE: New Study May Explain Why Some Women Save Less Than Men For Retirement
ARTICLE: Why are women only saving half as much as men for retirement?
ARTICLE: Women fail to save enough for retirement. Here’s how to fix that

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw, unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401Ks are quickly becoming a thing of the past, so we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

Hey there, James Sowers here and we are back with another great episode of the Red Pill Retirement podcast for you. Today, my conversation is once again with Mr. Ian Bond and this one is all about how women who may be a little bit behind on their retirement savings for any number of reasons, whether that’s maternity leave, or they went through a separation or a divorce, or they’ve been going through life as a solo parent on a single income with maybe a couple of kids, whatever it is that has caused them to not hit their retirement savings goals. We talk about some strategies for how they can take back control of their retirement and not only make up the difference, or make up the gap from where they are to where they want to be, but go beyond that and start generating recurring streams of revenue that can continue to support them indefinitely throughout the rest of their life.

So I think it’s a really interesting conversation and especially timely given at the time of recording, we’ve got Serena Williams in the news for some of the ways that she’s being treated differently compared to her male counterparts and I think that this episode is similar in the fact that there are certain aspects of roles that women have traditionally filled and the transition that’s happening where they’re being empowered both at home and in the workplace that have an impact on retirement planning. I think that this episode is really about how we can do just that, we can empower women to take control over their own future and give them the tools and resources they need to build a business that can sustain their lifestyle indefinitely.

So, really excited for you to hear this conversation and as usual, I’ll be back at the end of it to tie up any loose ends and tell you about what we have in store next. So without further ado, let’s get into my conversation with Mr. Ian Bond, I know you’re going to love it.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Red Pill Retirement podcast, my name is James Sours and I’m your host and I am joined as always by Mr. Ian Bond. Now Ian, I know you’re just getting back from a fantastic trip, some time away from the office, can you tell us a little bit about what you were up to?

Yeah, sure James, good to see you again. Well, the family and I just took a vacation which was also part exploration and we spent four days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on the east side of the peninsula and then we went across the peninsula to an island on the west side, an island called Penang. There’s a colonial city, I think it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site called George Town and Malaysia’s one of these places with an incredible healthcare system, incredible cost of living, great ex-pat community, we really liked George Town, I’d been to Kuala Lumpur before. So we combined what is a new place for my wife and kids, although I had been to KL before, with a chance of looking around. Just seeing, could this fit at some point? Does it feel like it’d be something interesting for us if we might eventually want to look for some place to settle down. So that’s kind of what we do on vacation. We don’t make any sacrifices, we certainly stayed at nice places and had a lot of fun. So that’s what I was up to.

That’s awesome, that sounds like a great trip. If you’re new to the show, I think that’s a great illustration of the kinds of things that we talk about here. We talk about alternative retirement models and one of those is living abroad so that you can leverage the savings you have and some of the currency exchanges and things to your advantage while living in a beautiful place, having a great healthcare system and frankly, if you’re not ready to make that commitment or make that leap now, you can go on your normal vacation and like Ian was saying, use that as an opportunity to maybe vet or validate a place that you might want to retire to in the future. So that’s just one example of something that we talk about on the show.

Today we’re talking about a really interesting and timely topic, I think, and that’s all about in the past, women have been underpaid or maybe lagged behind on their retirement savings a little bit when compared to men and today we’re going to talk about how women can take control of that back into their own hands and start to improve their retirement situation through entrepreneurship and building a business. So I found this article on Forbes, which I’ll link up in the show notes but they had some interesting statistics around women and their retirement savings as compared to me. On average, women save just a little bit more than half as much as the men in their same age group. There are a bunch of different reasons that they say behind that. Some of that is around prioritization and during the childbearing years, women aren’t as concerned about saving for retirement as they are just getting the kids out the door and to school on time. Whereas men make it their top priority because historically that role has been as the provider.

So first Ian, I’d like to just ask, you run a community for people that are in this age group. Do you see this kind of situation where women are hitting the wall and seeing retirement around the corner but a little bit concerned about where they are financially and trying to make up a plan to make up that ground?

Yeah sure. I would say I was thinking about this. Just off of our blog and the comments, or people that email me, I get more cold engagement from women maybe 60% or 65%, to 35% or 40% from women than men. I don’t know why that is, that’s just an observation and we can talk about a lot of the considerations and concerns. How they got there? There’s a litany of reasons, it could be anywhere from the traditional baby boomer and Gen X role choices of women having career interruption to have children and all of the potential things that happen like that. In my own family, when my mom was unwell, my sister was the one that volunteered to go and take care of my mom and my brother and I did not. I’ve got a family, my brother does not have a family, my sister does not have a family so my sister was the one that volunteer and I think maybe women are more prone to do that but there’s a lot of reasons it happens but yeah, I think it’s absolutely the case that I get more engagement, cold engagement from women just strictly off the blog.

Now within in the community, there’s a very active dialogue and there I think it’s a safer place probably, but I think maybe it just is a … as you alluded to, a newer concept, or more top of mind. I’m almost trying to figure out why someone engages me, what’s their situation and why now? I always try to figure that out and it’s not an exact science.

Yeah, you know if somebody’s listening at home and they find themselves in this position I would say, first and foremost, don’t feel bad about it. You are not alone, there are plenty of other women facing these same challenges and like you said, there are a bunch of reasons why this happens and it’s completely justifiable. If you take maternity leave to raise two or three children and you’re out of the workforce for, it can be a decade or more, it’s hard, it’s nearly impossible to save for retirement during that time if you’re not working at all and then when you do come back into the workforce, you kind of feel like you’re playing catch up. I would say don’t feel any guilt or resentment about that because frankly, it’s never been easier to become an entrepreneur and quickly make up for lost time there. That’s kind of what we’re going to talk about today and I think that one example that I do want to make sure that we touch on is that women on average live longer than men and I know that you have a very specific story about someone inside of your community that brought that up to your wife about why she should be concerned about her retirement savings and the nest egg that you guys have.

Yeah, this really was striking. Last year, in June, I attended a live and invest overseas retirement conference in Portugal. We were looking to think about Portugal as a place we might ultimately want to retire, hey why not choose a capital city in Western Europe, okay? I quickly was befriended by a couple, and my wife was out sightseeing with my kids, Heidi and Ed and we ultimately had dinner with them and I remember … Heidi was probably was 73, 4, 5 and Ed might have been 80 and I remember we had dinner and Heidi grabbed my wife by the forearm and said, “You need to keep doing what you’re doing because I have plenty of capital but I don’t have cashflow and I don’t want to dip into my capital and you’re going to outlive him.” She was pointing at me, I said, “I hope you don’t know something I don’t know.” But she says, “You’re going to outlive him and think about cashflow.” She was incredibly direct about it and I was really kind of taken by the fact that here she is in her 70s, really thinking hard about this, really interested in our eCommerce activities too. So that’s the most striking example that I can tell you.

Yeah and I think the most interesting point to emphasis there is that she does have a nice size nest egg. She does have a set of money that she has set aside, or they have set aside for retirement but what she is saying is, “I don’t want to just draw from that because then I’m going to be up every night wondering when I’m going to take the last dollar out of that account. What I want is cashflow, I want money coming in every single month to cover my expenses so I don’t have to touch the nest egg.” That becomes an inheritance for somebody or whatever you want to do with it at the end of your life, but instead of drawing, drawing, drawing down from a big bucket of money, you want money coming in every month to cover your expenses so that you don’t have worry about that.

Well, so James, going back to your original point. If Heidi was 75 at the time, she could easily live another 20 or 25 years and so that is a … I don’t know what her nest egg is, they were well-to-do for sure, this conference wasn’t cheap, but 20 or 25 years of funding would be daunting for anyone and you need to be thinking in those terms, I think.

Yeah, for sure, and that’s at 75. If she retired at 65 like most people plan to or hope to, or even earlier, then that’s another 10 years. So you’re trying to basically plan for retirement that’s almost as long as you are in the workforce. Like you said, that can be a daunting task so what you want instead is revenue coming in every month from some kind of a business venture that can take care of you over the long term.

Yeah, well look, you know I complain about this longevity thing all the time. This is a terrible thing that we’re all going to live too long. You really don’t want to have that mindset but now … Look, when the traditional retirement age was established, the age of death was not too far behind when people starting collecting retirement. Now there’s almost another third of your life that’s left after that. So it’s a whole different ballgame.

Well and the nature of work has changed as well. That used to be a lot more manual labor positions and at 65 you had to retire. You had a lifetime of doing manual labor and fairly broken at the time physically-

Absolutely.

… but now, in today’s world, we’re working digitally and we’re working with software and we’re using our brains more than our brawn for the most part, so we can work longer and later into life and still be happy and enjoy the quality of life that we had without being stressed out physically, mentally or emotionally. So that’s definitely a changing-

… stressed out, physically, mentally or emotionally. So, that’s definitely a changing part of the landscape, is one that needs to be considered when we’re talking about retirement planning. So, I love the stories that we’ve shared so far, but while we’re on the topic of this woman giving your wife some advice about her retirement savings. I know that your wife … It was in one of these situations, before it happened. She took time off, and then was saying whether she should go back into the workforce, or maybe not go back to work, or do something entrepreneurial. So, tell us a little bit about that situation.

Sure. So, my wife was a very high level executive assistant. I would say, kind of a department coordinator in an investment bank, and she took eight years off from the workplace, and got our two kids into school. And she describes the moms in her group of friends, of our kids’ friends as, a third of them never leaving the workforce, so they were never able to attend any of their kids’ activities, and left their kids as they were … before they went to school. Left them at home with their nanny. And then the other two thirds … of the other two thirds, some small percentage didn’t want to ever work, and the rest of them, were all trying to struggle to get back into the work place. And she describes just the challenge around, kind of missing the most recent technology upgrades in the office, and feeling like you’re a step slow as to policies and procedures. Very daunting, and she definitely, when she was going through the interviewing process … I would call it discrimination, or at least a handicapping of the fact that people thought that well, “She’s done this before, maybe she’ll do it again.”

So, easier to take someone maybe who is younger, and looks like they were going to have a … Not have to have the departures from work early, because there’s a kid problem or something like that. It was really a daunting challenge for her, and so, literally when she got an offer to go to work at an investment bank, I mean, the friends all rallied around her, and said any way they could possibly help … She had help from the stay-at-home moms, and she had help from the moms that were still working, saying, “Look, whatever you need, you know, if you run into a situation that you don’t exactly know what’s going on, call me, I’ve still been working. And if you need me to pick up the kids, because you’ve gotten waylaid, call me, and I’ll help out.” It was wonderful. We had a wonderful group of friends.

Yeah, and what I love about that story is, you kind of cover all three options, right? And what we’re here today to say, I think, is that there’s no right or wrong to this, it’s a personal choice. You can go back to work certainly. You can choose not to work, and you can choose entrepreneurship. But, if you try to go back to work, and you find difficulty re-entering the workforce, for whatever reason. If you suspect discrimination or something like that, the fact of the matter is, you’re putting a hiring decision in someone else’s hands, and they’re evaluating you and your recent past, and they’re making a personal decision about whether or not to hire you, and in any case, whatever you think about the situation, that’s not the best place to be, right? You want to have control over your future, and you want your input to determine your outcome. And the best way to do that, I think, is through entrepreneurship and being a business owner. It gives you the most flexibility, and it gives you the most control, because the results that you get, are directly determined by the energy, the effort, that you put in.

So, what we’re here today, to do, is to kind of weight that. And I know, your wife ended up with an e-commerce store, and now a portfolio of e-commerce stores. So can you talk about the decision … when she made the decision not to go back to the workforce, but instead to be an entrepreneur? How did you settle on what path to pursue?

Just to remind you, when I relocated four years ago, the month of September in 2014, my wife waited till the following summer, June of 2015, to bring the kids overseas. And so, we were apart for, call it, nine months or something like that. And when she arrived overseas, there really wasn’t a large pool of jobs available for her with her skill set, on the one hand. On the other hand, I had thought through the fact that ultimately I will be reaching retirement age, and I would like to have an alternative source of income, away from the job. And I got very deep into the e-commerce and the online world. And so … We had actually talked about this before she took her job, but when she got over basically, I kind of steered that decision, she was game for it, and then we plunged head in to purchasing a couple of websites pretty quickly, and having her come up to speed. As an alternative to a traditional job, something that would be portable when my employment ends, or when we decide to retire, we can take with us, and continue to monetize from wherever we end up after here.

So, that was the impetus for the whole thing. And I can tell you that her original trepidation, because it was new to her, was certainly very high, but once she was able to get her arms around the basics, which did not take very long, she was able to work around our kids schedule. So, drop the kids off at school, she’s working. Take the kids to activities, she can work from the soccer pitch, or the rugby pitch, or the ice skating rink. If she wants to, she has no problems. Last night, she was out with her friends, who work, and when she gets back, she checks on her team to find out if she missed anything. So, just total flexibility. She just needs to get the work done, and she’s very disciplined, probably more so than I am, in terms of kind of lining up her priorities, and getting them done. Now, I think she would … I know she would say, “This is just a dream job.” I mean, she is able to work from vacations, when we go on vacation. She has been back to the US for a couple of semi-personal things, we always tie them to business related things.

And her team doesn’t know where she is. Her clients don’t know where she is. She’s able to work, and connect with everybody as need be, doesn’t miss a beat. So, it’s an amazing ability that you have these days, with the connectivity. All you need’s an internet connection. That’s it.

Yeah, and I’m glad we dug a little bit deeper into that, because it actually highlighted a point that I neglected to cover earlier, which is, you don’t have to jump into entrepreneurship 100%. And in fact, you frequently advocate for getting your job, and keeping your job, and building a business on the side, and extending your runway that way. And then at some point if you want to, you can always make the leap into entrepreneurship, after you’ve gained some traction with your business, and you have some revenue coming in. So, if someone is nervous about foregoing … returning to the workforce, in favor of becoming an entrepreneur, you don’t have to chose one or the other. You can go out there, and get a job, and still pursue an entrepreneurship on the side, and then those when those paths kind of cross to the point where it makes sense, you could make the leap at that point.

Now look, James. Rule number one at retirement rehab, is ‘lengthen your runway, and earn at the highest level, as long as you possibly can, so that you can ultimately make the choice on your own terms, not forced by anybody else.’ But, along with that, comes the great obligation, that you got to start. You got to get … You got to find something that’s going to work for you longer term. And the beauty is that, when you have an income coming in, the little setbacks aren’t so bad. The frustration is that, it can be a long day, if you’re trying to learn new skills, or work with … meet new clients or whatever it is. But, you’ve not had this conversation before. Give up Game of Thrones, give up all of the sports things, and find the time to do it. It’s so rewarding. And the other thing I will mention, and I say this … I feel like I repeat it almost every day to the people that I coach, which is, we always … The old adage is that, ‘we always overestimate what we can do in the short term, and we underestimate what we can do in the long term.’

So literally, you just pick something to get done today, and then tomorrow get something to get done tomorrow. When you wake up after six months, you’ll be just amazed at how far you can go. And that’s what’s going on in our community. Okay? What’s going on in our community, is people are … They have accountability threads, and they’re talking about what they’re getting done every day, and they’re getting encouragement from others. And there are other people copying, say, “Hey, you know, I saw that you were able to do that, now I’m going to go do that. I’m going to, you know, go and set up a profile on our freelancing site. I’m going to, you know, start to, you know, work on, you know, you know, you know, this area of interest, and you know, this is my to-do list.” And so, it’s amazing to see people help other people out when they get stuck, but it’s also … These accountability threads are really huge, because once you tell the world that you’re going to do it … First of all, you do it, but secondly, you get a lot of encouragement from people, which is wonderful.

Yeah, it’s kind of like, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats,’ right? If you copy my motto, and you’re successful at it, then I’m happy for you. I’m not angry with you, because frankly the world is big enough for both of us to be successful without pulling back on one or another.

Look, the reality is that the … I got into whole e-commerce world by watching other people, listening to podcasts, and reading blogs of people that were in the trenches every day. I joined the Facebook groups that they’re in. I watched the good days, and I watched the bad days, and I just said, “Look, this is something I can do, and you know, if I … If you know that there are other people, out there doing it, you know, it’s kind of hard to take a call that you, you know, you’re not going to be able to do it.” Now, there is a mindset shift from being an employee, to being kind of an entrepreneur, because it’s very easy to go into a place of work, and kind of have, kind of the same kind of routine every day. But, you figure it out pretty quickly.

Yeah, totally agree. You know, if somebody does want to take that first step today, if they’ve heard what we’ve said, and they say, “You know what? I want to give it a shot.” You guys landed on buying an e-commerce store, and then a couple more, but that’s just one model. What are some of the other things that women who want to take back control of their retirement planning, can do on the entrepreneurial. How can they kind of dip their toe on the water, and see if entrepreneurship is right for them.

So, I would say that, with regards to … First of all, I always talk about the big three, right? There’s coaching consulting, and then there’s freelancing, and there’s a couple of flavors in freelancing, and then there’s e-commerce universe. But I would say that depending … If you have specific skills, there is an enormous need for people that can write, people that can edit …

For people that can write, people that can edit, if you have only a little bit of training in social media you can do social media management for people. If you have any teaching experience, I don’t care if it’s Sunday school or it’s swimming lessons, there is an enormous opportunity for someone who has any teaching experience to either create courses on something where you have a knowledge set or a passion or to just use your teaching to help other people in some way that you get employed to help them.

Look, obviously if you’re a professional, a career professional and have an opportunity to do consulting, you know who you are and you just really need to figure out exactly how to structure that. Those would be the major ways that I see people doing it. The easiest thing, quite frankly, is to just start to get involve in freelancing, see what it’s like, see how it fits and then see if you want to graduate from there.

Yeah, and I think what that really starts with is a personal audit, some self reflection and say what are my skills, what do I like to do and then look at the options available to you out there. If you left the workforce as a marketing director then maybe you’re the perfect person to be a coach or a consultant for startup companies who can’t afford to hire a head of marketing and you can just come in and consult them on their strategy and their execution. Similarly, if you find that you’re a super organized person and you love running the household and managing everybody’s calendars for the kids, when’s their sports and maybe even your husband. I know my wife manages my calendar for me sometimes when I need it. If you’re super organized like that then maybe you’re good to be a virtual assistant and you can work freelance in that capacity.

Yeah, let me mention something. Right now we’re doing a fairly large survey of exactly how far people are on a monthly income basis from what they anticipate their needs are going to be and we’ll be releasing the survey results fairly soon but the numbers are, that they’re not that far away. Two, three, four thousand dollars a month is looking like it’s kind of like the fat part of the bell curve to be honest with you. Two, three thousand dollars is a fairly easy amount of income to construct if you get started and build a lifestyle that will be absolutely the lifestyle that you want, kind of like I described for my wife, what works for her. Yes, you have to be organized, yes, you have deliverables because you have clients but you get to do it on your own terms and so it’s really not that far of a reach. I would say that’s the most exciting thing, is once people see that opportunity then they really get engaged, it’s fun to see.

Yes, so it sounds like what you’re saying is let’s just assume somebody thinks that they can live off of $50,000 a year indefinitely so that’s roughly 4,000 and some change every month and you’re measuring how far away they are from that based on what their nest egg looks like.

Social security, nest egg, potentially a pension, something like that. No-one want to touch their nest egg so it’s the cashflow the nest egg throws off and a little bit of cushion. People also look to figure out obviously how they can shrink the expense side so we work on both sides of that equation. It’s just not that far that you’re away and it’s just not that hard to figure out how to get there. Again, you got to start, it looks daunting starting from zero but after your first couple of engagements which you will spend too much time on and you will stress out over and I’ve done it and I’m doing it, whenever I stretch myself but you learn how to manage it, it’s wonderful really.

Yeah, and I love that we’re going to probably talk about those survey results in a future episode I’m sure but I love that example and I love that you brought that up because that’s really what we’re tackling here today. If you know that you need $50,000 every year on retirement to live the lifestyle that you want but based on the nest egg because you’re out of the workforce for a while, whatever the case may be you’re not going to hit that number simply drawing down from the nest egg you have now, well then you need to do exactly what we talked about today and take charge of your retirement by generating income in some fashion. We covered a bunch of ideas for how to get started with that today and of course, we’re going to link up the study and the community and the survey results when they’re ready. We’ll put them all in the show notes and I guess we’ll probably talk about them in a future episode. I loved what we talked about today Ian, is there anything you want to leave the folks with before we hop off?

Yeah, I just want to add and punctuate with what we’re ending with which is however much you think you’re going to need you’re overestimating it.

Okay.

You’re looking at it from the lens of where you’re living now and there are so many creative ways to lower your cost of living and when you do exit probably the expensive place you’re living for something less expensive and you start to shed a lot of things that you kind of take for granted in your forties and fifties that you no longer take for granted when you really start to think it through, you’re overestimating it. You’re actually closer than you think. There’s a great reason to have hope, let me tell you.

I love it, I love that as a takeaway and if you are a woman listening to this episode and for whatever reason you’re not comfortable with where your retirement is at, maybe you took some maternity leave, maybe you took some time off to care for a loved one that was sick, maybe you went through a divorce, whatever the case may be, if you’re not happy with where you’re at right now the message we want to send home is there are options available to you. You don’t have to do it alone and the folks in the retirement rehab community are there to help you achieve your goals and even exceed them so you can live the lifestyle you want for the rest of your life.

Ian, thank you so much as always for your time today and we’ll be looking forward to the next conversation with you here soon.

Great James. Really one of my favorite topics I think. I get so many inquiries from our women readers and the community is very vibrant and it’s just fun to be engaged with people. I think the fact that we have solved this as a couple and we think about it as a couple might help people get there but thanks, it was a wonderful conversation so thank you.

Same to you and hopefully the folks at home check out the show notes and check out the community and we’ll be back with another great episode here in the near future. Thank you Ian, take care.

All right folks, so there you have it, that concludes my conversation with Mr.Ian Bond all about how women can take back control of their future and their retirement planning through entrepreneurship. I hope you enjoyed it. I think we covered a lot of great point here today and I think especially poignant is the fact that whether you’re behind in your retirement savings or you have a nice little nest egg set aside, the trends that exist in longevity and the human lifecycle indicate that we’re going to live longer than ever before which means the time that we will be out of the workforce and in retirement is longer than every before. Even if you have that nest egg and you’re drawing down from it odds are that it won’t be enough and that by the end of your retirement period you’ll be out of money or very short on money and you’ll be looking at others for help.

If you want to avoid that and you want to make sure that you have a safety net to take care of you for the rest of your life and it won’t keep you up at night then I think entrepreneurship is a great way to generate revenue streams that happen every single month and continue to pay you even after you’ve stopped working.

We shared some strategies for how to get started with that today but the most important tip, I think, is remember that you don’t have to do this alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or scared, you’re not alone, other people have been there and the no nest egg retirement community is the perfect place to connect with other folks who are feeling the same way, have the same goals and aspirations as you. Might be a few steps ahead of you in the process and are excited to help you get to where you want to be so that’s all I have for you today. If you are a woman who finds herself in this situation and this struck a chord with you, please let us know, similarly if you know a woman in your life who needs to hear this, please send the URL her way so that she can be inspired to take back control of her retirement and her future. Until next time, we’ll see you on the other side.

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