When most people think about starting a business, they get overwhelmed by all of the things they think are required to be successful…
- Tons of startup capital
- Years of experience running other businesses
- Advanced technical skills or knowledge
- Complex financial management practices
- Hiring (and paying) a team of full-time employees
Sure, there are some types of businesses that could require any (or all) of those things, but they certainly aren’t required for ALL types of businesses.
If you set realistic expectations around what you want your business to look like in terms of scope, revenue, or headcount, you can reduce or remove a lot of the risk and resource requirements.
In this episode, we debunk some of the most popular myths around entrepreneurship and offer alternative perspectives on how you can get past those roadblocks and start building a business TODAY.
You’ll learn about:
- How to start a business with minimal financial investment
- How to compensate for a lack of business acumen or technical skills
- How to transition safely from a 9-to-5 to entrepreneurship
- How to maintain a healthy level of work-life balance
- How to find other people to support you along your journey
References and Resources:
Transcription of This Episode
Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we review the raw unfiltered truth about retirement funding 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 and welcome back to the Red Pill Retirement podcast. My name is James Sowers and I’m your host and I’m joined once again today by Mr Ian Bond. We have a great discussion for you that is centered all around common myths and misconceptions that people have about entrepreneurship.
Now if you’re one of those people who has considered starting a business of your own and has done some research and started to realize that there are a lot of things that go into a successful business. There’s accounting and marketing and hiring. All of these things are important and they are necessary for a business to run and be healthy and sustainable over the long term. But they aren’t necessarily a cause for getting overwhelmed or something that should turn you away from the idea of entrepreneurship. It doesn’t have to be that complex or that difficult, at least not when you’re starting up.
And so what we’re here today to talk about are some of the common misconceptions that people have around entrepreneurship and some of the realities that exist that make it a much more valuable outcome than a lot of people think when they start to consider it as a career path or as a new career path as they move away from the nine to five, the desk job, the office job and into something more independent.
So that’s what today’s conversation is centered around. I think you’re going to love it. I don’t want to hold you back from it any longer so let’s get into my conversation with Ian and I’ll be around on the backend of the conversation to tie everything together and show you where you can find all of the resources and references that we talked about today. So enjoy the conversation, we’ll see you on the other side.
Hey everyone, welcome back to the show. My name is James Sauers and I’m joined again by Mr Ian Bond. Ian, how are your things looking on your side of the pond today?
James, it couldn’t be better. It’s great to see you again and I look forward to speaking.
Yeah, same to you. I’m really excited about the topic that we’re going to be discussing today. It’s one that’s very near and dear to my heart. So in the last episode of the show we talked about some of the myths that exist around debt and how to manage debt and what it can have as an influence on your lifestyle.
We debunked some of those myths and we’re going to kind of the same thing today about a topic that makes a lot of people wary or has them worried about whether or not it’s realistic for them and that’s entrepreneurship.
They could become a business owner a lot of people will get overwhelmed by the prospect of everything that seemingly goes into running a business. Accounting, marketing, hiring, HR, operations, that kind of thing. And they say, “Hey, I’m just George Small. I’m no Steve Jobs, I’m no Elon Musk, I’m no Jeff Bezos, I’m no Henry Ford even. So who do I think I am to go out here and start a business out of thin air?” But that kind of mindset is really overblown because the beauty of entrepreneurship is it can be as large or as small as you want it to. And I know you have some thoughts to kick of us off.
Well, look, I mean the fact of the matter is that the demographic where there is the greatest formation of entrepreneurs is the baby boomer demographic. So more people doing things independently, more company formation with baby boomers. So it’s clearly not a secret that it’s an opportunity for people. And it’s an opportunity for a lot of good reasons that we’re going to get into.
Absolutely. And I have to dig up this study because I read somewhere, I believe, that actually the average age of entrepreneurship for a company that doesn’t go bankrupt or default its financial situation is actually in the late 30s or early 40s is when that person started that business. So it’s not necessarily a young person’s game.
We hear about the Facebooks and the Twitters that are started out in Silicon Valley but that’s just a small percentage of businesses in general. There are a lot of people who are in the middle stages of life or even later in life who are just getting started as entrepreneurs and seeing a lot of success.
James, I can tell you that we are helping a large number of people that have all kinds of professional or corporate training. And we’re helping them utilize the technology that’s available today and expand what used to be their reality which was their local reality to provide the advice or the service that they provide and provide it in basically globally. And also electronically through eBooks or blogs or courses.
So it’s a amazing opportunity and there’s no better demographic than people that are north of 40 to be honest with you. Because they have the experience, they have the judgment, they have the people skills. They’ve gone done all of that. Also obviously have the work ethic and all kind of the things that are really hard if you’ve never been in a structured environment. I would say the one thing that when they’re leaving a structured environment the challenge is then is figuring out how to get started. And the other thing is when it’s unstructured are they able to keep the tempo and keep the pace up? But that’s been really no problem for anybody that we work with.
Yeah, and I would assume there are even two more strengths that come with being maybe a 40 and over entrepreneur first time is you have a perceived authority and credibility that just comes with seniority and having that work experience that a lot of teens and twenty-somethings don’t have. So they walk into a board room and pitch an idea to a bunch of folks and they’re fresh out of college, these people are going to roll their eyes and shut the door on them. But if you’re more seasoned and you’ve been in business or you’ve been a professional for a longer time, you’re more likely to actually be heard and appreciated and have your opinions valued.
So I think there’s that and you also probably have a lot of flexibility in that you don’t necessarily maybe have kids. They might be in college or even you have an empty nest. So you’re not held back by some of the other restrictions that say a twenty-something or an early 30s person might have in addition to trying to start a business.
So I think what we really want to make sure what we get people to walk away with today is that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t have to be risky, it doesn’t have to be a shoot for the moon, trying to take a company public kind of endeavor. It can be something that you start with a specific lifestyle in mind, maybe a financial goal in mind and then reverse engineer it.
So I know Ian you have some specific stories about how someone might have grown up with a parent who is an entrepreneur and not even realize it and some other examples of how entrepreneurship has been part of life for eons and we maybe necessarily don’t think about that in the same way that we might think of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.
Yeah, look I think first you go back to the agrarian age and if your last name was Mason or Farmer or Baker, you know what the family did. They were all entrepreneurs. Everyone was back then. My father and my grandfather were small town lawyers and they were all entrepreneurs. They didn’t work for a big company. And I think that’s true for a lot of people.
But when you use the word entrepreneur, first of all it’s a long, fancy word, you get this notion that people are going to become the next Mark Zuckerberg. Now look, we sell things to people, are we entrepreneurs? I don’t really think of us as being entrepreneurs. We sell physical goods to people online. You could go and buy our stuff. There are people that are selling stuff in their spare time on eBay, that’s as entrepreneurial as … we’re just doing that on a bigger plane.
I always talk about, and you and I have talked about this before, you know the big three categories of opportunity outside of your day job are consulting and coaching. And then there’s things around language which is writing. That could be copywriting or SEO writing or some kind of writing. And then ecommerce. And I don’t think anybody is talking about coming up with the next biotech revolution. Or the next Snapchat or anything like that. All we’re talking about is utilizing the amazing technology and tools that are available today to expand your reach beyond what has historically been a very small perimeter into what is available today which is limitless.
Yeah and if you want to simplify it even further that eight year old with a lemonade stand or who goes to a Sam’s Club or BJ’s or whatever your big department store is and buys candy and then resells it to the kids at school, technically that’s entrepreneurship. And when you boil it down it’s really just someone who takes a product or a service and exchanges that for money. And even the biggest corporations in the world are doing that same thing just on a much larger scale. So-
So yeah, I think the disconnect is that people don’t know how to get there. Okay? So entrepreneurship that scares people. But people just literally just don’t know the first three steps to take. And hopefully, if someone cares, we’ve written a lot about that. There’s lots of choices you can make. We write extensively about the different types of choices that you can make. And it’s really those first three steps. And once you start to get into the lingo and once you start to meet other people that are doing it. It will be like second nature.
Yeah, yeah, and I love that. And I think what we really want to do today is get into a couple of examples of what I commonly call the yeah buts. Like somebody at home is listening and they’re saying, “You’re saying entrepreneurship is easy, it doesn’t have to be scary. Yeah but it requires a whole lot of money to get started.” So let’s walk through a few examples like that, maybe let’s even start with that one.
A lot of people think you need a large amount of start up capital to get a business. You have to lease a space like an office space or a shop downtown. But that’s not necessarily true. So what are some examples of businesses that you’ve seen that have been started with little or no start up?
I know people that have started with literally next to no money. Now, yeah, I mean like-
Now, I mean, look, technology, we’re talking nine timezones away from each other right now, and it’s not costing either of us anything more than our internet subscription. So, there’s no fancy software involved. It’s all stuff that you can get for free. So, it’s never been cheaper to start a business today, and it would probably be cheaper and better tomorrow, and certainly will be a year from today.
So, everything just keeps getting upgraded. You can’t say that going back a decade ago because there were a lot more obstacles, but it isn’t the case today. So, it doesn’t cost money. I would tell you that you can substitute money for time in doing certain things because you can outsource those things and someone else can do that, and you could ramp up more quickly if you have more money, which is one of the reasons as a spouse keeping your day job and working on this in the before work and after work time during your day because that allows you to get very familiar with all of the inner workings, but also do it yourself and do it on the cheap, if you will.
Right. I think that ties into another myth about entrepreneurship that a lot of folks have is, “Okay. So, let’s say I do have a little bit of startup capital, and I do have a skillset that I have earned through my traditional employment, but I don’t know how to make a website. I don’t know how to build a software solution that I think needs to exist in the world or maybe I don’t have a creative skill that’s in high demand like copywriting or graphic design or something like that. So, I can’t start a business in this day and age,” but I think that’s a misconception that we’re here to just squash today. I’m sure you have some examples or some thoughts around that.
Well, yeah. First of all, I don’t know how to build a website, okay? I was thinking about this the other day. The last three years we’ve processed on a dozen or so websites that we have sold things on, over 5,000 orders and we’ve never seen one of our products. Never physically touched one of our products ever before. So, we have no idea how to create the backend that we use, which is we use Shopify and BigCommerce, which are E-commerce platforms.
You can get people with tech skills through wonderful sites like Upwork. You can get graphic design work, logos through Fiverr. There’s a myriad of places that you can get tech help or other help relatively cheap, and that’s what people do. For our blog, I have an editor. She’s wonderful. She’s an author. She does a wonderful job far better than I can do on my own. By the way, when you write something yourself, there are things that you don’t obviously see. It’s also good to have some take a look at things. I don’t have someone close to me that can do that. So, you find people like this that are available, that you can leverage off of for a fraction of what you might have thought before you started to look into it.
We have spent well into six figures on outsourcing different tasks to people, and it’s everything from logo design to building websites, to doing product uploading, to doing editing, and doing paid search, and all of these things. You pay them by the hour. You pay them by the job. You find what works for your budget.
Yeah, and I think what I’m hearing there is much in the same way that technology has made it more affordable than ever to start business, it’s also made it easier than ever to build a team of experts who can do the things that you might not necessarily be good at, and you can bring them on temporarily or you can bring them on almost full-time without having to necessarily go through all of the HR procedures of having a W-2 or anything like that. You don’t have to pay them a salary necessarily. We have contractors and freelancers, and the talent pool is bigger than it’s ever been. You could hire somebody across the globe to literally work on your business while you’re sleeping, and help move it forward. So, you’re doubling productivity in that regard.
I actually did that first back in 2013 or 2014 to see if it actually existed, and it did. I actually outsourced to India some work, and while I was asleep, they did a whole bunch of processing. You wake up and your inbox, you’ve got this wonderfully complete project. The adage that I saw the other day is our parents, being a baby boomer, our parents had one job. Us, baby boomers, in our career might have seven or eight jobs, and our kids might have seven or eight jobs at the same time.
So, there’s a whole change in the economy where people are going to be having multiple things that they do, call them gigs, call them whatever you want to, but they’re going to have an opportunity if they want to to have multiple ways to make money. Some of them won’t want to do that, and they’ll just opt in for something more traditional, but that’s the world we’re living now. So, there’s a massive full of talent out there that could be incredibly helpful.
Yeah, and I heard you touched on something that will actually tie nicely to our next point. So, we talked about how you don’t need a bunch of startup capital, you don’t necessarily need to be a technical expert or a creative professional, but what I heard you say there is you don’t necessarily have to even quit your job. A lot of people are saying, “Yeah, I want to start a business. That sounds great, but I have so much security where I’m at right now that I couldn’t possibly quit my job. I have kids to take care of. I have bills to pay. I can’t stop cold turkey and not have that income, and start building a business that might not generate revenue for quite some time.” So, I know you have some really specific thoughts about that. What do you think?
Yeah. So, okay. Rule number one of the No Nest Egg Retirement Plan is keep your day job. We have an extensive amount of time that we spend on lengthening your corporate career at the highest possible earnings level, so that when you leave, you leave on your own terms, and then we also, once we get that solved, we talk about how do you implement the strategy where you’re at a second source of income or a second and third source of income, and how do you start to build a profile to do that if you want to consult or coach or how do you do that if you want to do … Well, how do you build something on the side once you have lengthened your career? Job number one is keep your day job, and lengthen your career, so that you earn at a high level.
Yeah, and then you’re just layering additional revenue streams on top of that day job, so your financial position is only getting better. What that might trigger is a thought in someone’s head where, “Okay. So, you’re saying work my day job, work full-time, but then I see movies like The Social Network or I read about Elon Musk sleeping at his office or I see Mark Zuckerberg falling asleep in his computer while he’s building Facebook.” You don’t necessary have to work hundred hour weeks to build a successful business. We’ve touched on some of the reasons behind that, but what are your thoughts on that one, Ian?
Well, I think, and I know people that get up at 5:00 and work, and leave to get to the job at 9:00 and then they work till 1:00 in the morning or something like that. I know people are doing that. They are very passionate, and they’re on a time schedule of trying to build something, so that they can go to the next level. They might do that for a short period of time. I have spent a number of times where I’ve taken either long weekends or even a week off of work and worked on my side gig, if you will, whether it’s the blogs or it’s the E-commerce. So, you don’t have to be crazy to do that. If you’re set up correctly and you do have your career runway length, then you don’t have to do that.
Yeah, and I think that’s all around your personal goals. I mean, that’s certainly a choice that some people make is to put in that kind of time and effort because they want a certain kind of outcome, but if that’s not what you want, if you want a business that can sustain a certain lifestyle that doesn’t require that kind of scale or that kind of revenue growth, then you can certainly structure your life and your business in a way where it requires much fewer hours per week.
I know one of the examples that you love to cite around that is the coaching and consulting realm. So, let’s just say someone is a VP of marketing right now. They could take on a few clients where they’re, let’s say they’re coaching startup CEOs about their marketing strategy. That is something that you can really put some guardrails around. You can say, “I’m going to take on three clients. I’m going to do a one-hour call per week.” So, that constrains not only the time commitment required for you, but also the capital required. I mean, what are we doing right here? Right? We’re having a video call. That’s really all the more that you have to do and there’s almost no expense with that. If they’re paying you for the coaching session, you’re revenue positive from day one. So, that alone meets a lot up here.
I have a call scheduled later this afternoon with someone who’s an expert and something I want to know more about. I went to their electronic calendar. I picked a time that was convenient for me. I’m going to have a 30 or 45-minute call with them. It’s going to be invaluable to me. That’s the world we live in today. I mean, it’s wonderful. You just go to an electronic calendar, pick a time, and it’s highly efficient. So, you can absolutely put, as you say, put guardrails around what you’re doing.
Once you start to set up information that can be helpful to people so that when you do have one-on-one time with them, you’re at a higher level and not at a really introductory level, that becomes really powerful. I think that, I mean, there really isn’t anyone I know that’s achieving at a high level that’s not getting some mentoring or coaching from at least one, two or three different folks. Look, people use personal trainers. That seems to be well-socialized. Why suddenly one wouldn’t for a-
… is to be well socialized. Why someone wouldn’t, to add another stream of income, have a personal trainer for an additional stream of income I don’t know. I have at least three people that I pay regularly that give me great insights into things that I don’t know about.
There are all kinds of services that you can buy that are prefab services. You plug in, you get a great output for exactly what you’re looking for, and you’ve really maximized your time. It may cost a little bit of money, but it’s worth … Well, you’re substituting money for time.
You could do it. There’s a lot of things you could do yourself if you have the time, but that’s one of the great trade offs. If you keep the day job and you have a little bit of money, the ability to access the talent pool that we’re talking, and ramp up really quickly; it’s just amazing.
Yeah, and that’s exactly where I was going to go with that. What I love about coaching or the consultant model is you keep your day job. You do as much of the coaching and consulting as you want, or as you feel comfortable with, and that lets you dip your toe in entrepreneurship.
If you’re providing that strategy and that insight I’m sure that, sooner or later, somebody is going to say, “Hey, so can you actually implement this for us? Can you do the execution?” If that’s something you want to do, you can go out and build a team quickly and take on the execution.
All of a sudden, you’re running a small agency or some kind of service around the marketing angle. Then, shocker, you woke up one day and you’re an entrepreneur. Congratulations, you did it, and you didn’t realize it.
Yeah, James, and it goes back to … I don’t know if someone will know who said this, but we underestimate, or we overestimate what we can get done in the short term, and we underestimate what we can get done in the longterm, and that’s absolutely the case.
Even me, I forget the reality that I was in five years ago when my mind, my head was in an entirely different head space than it is today. You’re right; to have the ability to access all these wonderful capabilities, to not use them is just, it’s crazy, to be honest.
Yeah, and we just systematically debunked a bunch of myths there. Just to recap, we talked about it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need a bunch of start up capital. You don’t have to be a technical expert or have some kind of creative skill. You don’t have to leave your job. You don’t have to jump straight from traditional employment into entrepreneurship. You don’t have to work a hundred hous a week to make this happen.
That’s a lot of great material that we just gave the listeners. One thing I want to leave them with, I want to send them home with is, most importantly, you don’t have to do this alone. You do not have to explore entrepreneurship as a professional endeavor by yourself.
I know that you have the No Nest Egg Retirement Community and the Retirement Rehab Community that help people out, so why don’t you tell us a little bit more about that?
Sure. Look, our community is all about what we just discussed. We have people pursuing … There’s different points in the journey, right? What I think we’ve done is create the common sense approach to retirement planning in the real world as it exists today, what I call the new economy.
There is all kinds of people out there with alphabet behind their name with all of their designations who would like to tell you what they think is rocket science, and what I can tell you definitively does not work. I would tell you to throw that away and think about this from a very practical aspect.
We take people through right sizing their life, establishing and lengthening their career runway through a myriad of choices that they can make, and then figuring out what they want to do to supplement their income. It’s a community. It’s vibrant. People are talking to each other. People are doing different things. People are collaborating together on things. People are sharing different tools that they have found helpful.
That’s really what it’s all about. This is not the kind of thing that I could find five years ago when I had this horrible realization that I wasn’t going to make it. Forget saving for retirement, I was worried about paying for college for my kids, much less my monthly expenses. That’s where I was at.
That’s the reason we put together the Retirement Rehab Community, the reason that I built the No Nest Egg Retirement Plan, which is the anti high brow retirement plan for all those people that have sat down and paid a fortune with financial planners, only to get a piece of garbage that doesn’t work because the inputs determine what the outputs are. The inputs are impossible to predict to that.
Right, so if you’re one of those folks that we talked about at the beginning of the episode, that are seeing of how I’m saying, “I’m just an average guy or gal. I can’t be a business owner. I just punch a clock for my 9:00 to 5:00, and I don’t have what it takes,” you probably can’t get Jeff Bezos on the phone. You probably can’t get Elon Musk on the phone, but there are people out there who are doing what you would like to do.
They’re just like you. They started yesterday. They started a year ago. They started maybe 5 or 10 years ago, and you can learn something from each of those people at each stage in their journey. One of the best ways I know to do that is to join a community like the one that you have at Retirement Rehab.
I would strongly encourage anybody listening who is on the fence, who say, “Oh, yeah, you have some good points here today, maybe that I can to this,” to consider joining a community like that, to have those models, to have those mentors, to have those real world examples of people that are doing exactly what you want to do. And frankly, have a blueprint or a process that you can follow to duplicate or replicate those results.
I’ll take it one level deeper. Five years ago, when I was making this transition and thinking about these things myself … And by the way, this is something that goes forever because we’re all going to live to be 80, 90, or 100 years old, and the world is changing, so it kind of goes forever.
But back when it was really critical for me to get my finances in order and to think about how I could, there was no community that I could find. To this day, I can’t point to another competitive community where this is the kind of thing, a resource that you can find that explicitly talks about these types of topics.
I believe firmly in the notion that you have to find like-minded people who are generally not going to be your neighbors. They’re generally not going to be from your social set, because this is a topic that’s very taboo.
If we’re not talking to each other about these things, it’s very, very lonely being in your own head all day every day. So joining a community is absolutely the best way to make progress, and a little bit of progress every day. You wake up in a year and you won’t believe the difference. It’s amazing.
Absolutely. If you’re sitting back there and you feel like we’ve addressed a lot of the concerns that you had around entrepreneurship and you’re ready to take action, we are going to link up everything that we talked about today, including that study and that quote. We’ll get it all together and, of course, the community assets.
We’re going to close out here today by saying if you had reservations and we’ve addressed those, and you’re looking to take the next step, just check out Redpillretirement.com. You’ll see the show notes, a number of links to all these references and resources there. Then, of course, future episodes will be talking about other subjects related to entrepreneurship, and how it is a viable path for you, going forward.
Ian, thank you so much for your time today, and I look forward to talking to you again soon.
James, it’s always a pleasure. Enjoy the end of the summer.
All right, you too. Yeah, take care.
All right folks, so there you have it. That wraps up our conversation today about the common myths and misconceptions that many people have about entrepreneurship. We talked about some specific examples, about how you don’t need a whole bunch of capital or money to get started and start a business today.
You don’t need to be a technical expert. You don’t need to do everything by yourself. You don’t need to leave your job today and start out on your own tomorrow, without any kind of a safety net or a risk mitigation process. You don’t have to try to build some big venture backed company, like Tesla or Facebook or Apple, and you definitely don’t have to work a hundred hours a week to make your dream a reality.
All of these things that you might’ve been sitting at home, thinking at the beginning of this episode, hopefully we did a good job today of laying out some data and evidence to support the fact that, while these may be concerning at face value, they aren’t necessarily the reality. As long as you have realistic goals and expectations for what you want to get out of life and your career as an entrepreneur.
I really enjoyed the conversation with Ian today. I hope you did as well and, as always, we’re going to link up all of the references and resources that we talked about in the show notes. You can find those at Redpillretirement.com.
That will conclude our episode for today. We’ll be looking forward to covering another great topic with you in future episodes. We hope that, if you haven’t already, you go ahead and subscribe. We’ll see you on the next episode. In the meantime, best of luck to you in life and in business. We’ll see you next time.