Being Your Own Boss and Keeping Up with The Times

Welcome, warm welcome, or welcome back. In this episode we’re going to talk about ‘wouldn’t it be great to be your own boss and what does that entail? And the myth versus reality of what you can expect.’

One of the things that a lot of authors touch up on, and I totally agree with, I’ve seen this time and time again, is the technician that believes they can start their own business because they know the technical aspects of it. I’m talking about if you’re a cook, if you’re a plumber, if you’re an electrician how easy would it be, apparently, apparently it’s easy, to break out and do your own thing.

Another one that I explored was professional pesticide companies. They also require training and specialized licenses, but the phenomenon has to do with perception. That as a technician you learn the ins and outs of the business, and I’ve seen landscaping businesses go through this as well, their project manager decides to branch off and becomes, essentially, the competition. It gets really ugly. They steal each other’s clients and then you have to go to court and fight them. All that could very easily be avoided, and it’s called nondisclosure agreements and noncompete agreements. That basically takes care of everything. Not that you’ll never go to court, but it will be a lot easier for you to prove your case and win.

One of my friends said it best; he said “if you never, ever want to get sued the only surefire way of doing that is to go to Mars,” and that is before we start colonizing Mars. Don’t let the fear of getting sued stop you from starting your business. It is real, you are exposed to it, but you can mitigate that risk with contracts and agreements. Consult with your attorneys, your attorneys are your friends. Yeah you have to pay them, they’re paid friends, but talk to your attorneys about what you’re thinking about doing and how can you protect yourself. Always try to attack your own business at different angles and see what you can do to prevent that. Nondisclosure agreements or noncompete agreements, those should be standard for anybody who has their own business. If you don’t have yours and make your employees sign it, do so as soon as possible.

Statistically, most businesses fail in the first five years and out of the businesses that are successful, those fail within the next five years. The odds are really stacked up against you, but again, don’t let that stop you. The reason for the failures could be many, many things. They were either experiments or they were tests, or the businesses just decided to change their name and instead of opening another company that says ‘also doing business as’ they just shut down that company and open another one. This is a question for your attorneys. You’ll be able to understand more of this the more involved you get into doing business. But the technician that branches off and starts their own company is one of the biggest reasons of why those statistics are real. Because they don’t understand the ins and outs of the business. That is one of the things that I’m a strong advocate of is stay in your lane. Choose whatever path you want to pursue and stay in your lane. If you are buying residential properties and a great commercial property opportunity shows itself, pass it on to somebody who deals with commercial properties and ask them for a little finder’s fee. But if you try to tackle it yourself, ignorance is more risky than calculated risk. By that I mean, stay in your lane. The technician knows everything about talking to customers, performing their duties, and quality control, but they fail to see bookkeeping, and tax records, legal implications of hiring and firing people, what you need to do to be able to have sensitive information in your workplace, and that includes social security numbers, and a whole heap of information that they have no idea was involved in having the business.

That’s why you need a mentor, that’s why you need somebody who is doing it and is willing to share with you. The point of this is to say wouldn’t it be nice to be your own boss? Yeah, it would. It is, it is great. But one of the things that you have to keep in mind is that when your boss is strict with his employees, it’s not because that boss is a bad person. It’s because they have a boss over them that they have to answer to. Sometimes the bosses are stockholders, or maybe sometimes they are bad people. I’m no one to judge, but if you’re not going to have a boss, or if you’re going to be your own boss, you have to be a self-starter, you have to have the discipline to do what you need to do, at the time you need to do it, and do it without anyone’s supervision, or anybody breathing down your neck making sure that you take care of it. In the beginning it’s strongly recommended to have accountability partners. Somebody that’s at your same level of either starting the business that you’re interested in or becoming an investor.

Especially in the beginning it’s very important to capitalize on that drive and that excitement of starting the business and going out there and conquering the world. When you start getting faced with problems and obstacles that motivation needs to be fed and nurtured. The structure that you can have is somebody else that’s also trying to do the same thing, and you account with each other, meet with each other once a week or an hour or so, go over your notes, what your plan was for the week, what you did what you didn’t do and why didn’t you accomplish it. The point is not to give the other person the power of being your boss. And just replacing one boss over the other. The only purpose is that you have to account for your activities to somebody else, and that in itself will be enough to embarrass you if you say “I couldn’t accomplish it because I just didn’t feel like it.” That’s the only point in having an accountability partner.

The second point is, going at it solo or being an employer, what is better? I mention in previous episodes that I’m a solo-preneur. I always had a hard time delegating responsibility to other people because you can delegate responsibility, but you cannot delegate accountability. You’re still accountable for everything that happens in your company, no matter what. But the difference is that with employees there’s a whole other set of rules that you have to follow and keep up with that involves Medicare and social security and tax withholdings, and that’s a lot of things that distract me from my main purpose, which is being a real estate investor. Therefore, when I need help, I hire the help as an independent contractor, or I pay a company to bring their employees in and accomplish the tasks that I need to have accomplished. That’s how you get around that. It is entirely possible for you to conduct your business on your own, but not every business can be done like that. If you start a landscaping business, for example, you’re going to notice that yes, you can do it alone, but landscaping businesses are one of the fastest growing businesses that you can have. You won’t be able to keep up with the demand, you’re either going to lose a lot of potential clients, or you’re going to grow. What most people do is start hiring other people, buying more equipment, and their company grows.

The difference comes down to you. What do you want to do? Do you want to be your own boss? You can do it. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 years old, it doesn’t matter if you’re 63 years old. Just do it, just start, because you don’t know what you don’t know. Keep in mind; however, that ignorance is risky. It’s a lot riskier than taking a chance. At the end of people’s lives, they regret things that they didn’t do over things that they did do. Remember, it’s not a failure. If your business fails, it was a test. You were testing it, it didn’t work, now you know so move on. Also, don’t wait until you’re at the end of your career and about to retire, or are faced with downsizing to start. A lot of times people say “there’s no reason I should get fired because I’m a good worker, I’ve been working here for so many years and I’m essential to the company.” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but nobody is irreplaceable. You don’t want to be irreplaceable because then you can’t take vacations. So start your business now, at least start looking into what you would like to do. Anything you decide is going to take time and study, and there’s a learning curve and the harder it is the longer it’s going to take you to gain traction.

I can tell you that probably the easiest strategy to buy real estate is also the one that requires the most intensive legwork. That’s wholesaling, and without getting into too many details, essentially wholesaling is going to the neighborhoods that you want to buy a house in and knocking on everybody’s door or sending them a letter to tell them “I want to buy your house.” Then you come to an agreement with the owner about what price they want for their house and then sell that contract to someone else. It’s easy, right? It sounds easy, and essentially it is, it’s just one contract that you have to figure out, and your strategy really comes from that legwork of going out there. You’re probably going to have to knock on a hundred houses before you get one, but you will get one. It is still a sound strategy, but it requires a lot of legwork.

In contrast, like the businesses we conduct, is also buying directly from the owners, but come up with a payment plan. It could either be a rent-to-own or it could be owner finance deal, and in the back end we help people fix their credit, and we put them in a nice home while they’re rebuilding that credit. They already know what the price for the home is going to be, and part of their monthly payment goes towards the purchase of the home. It’s very rewarding to be able to help people that way. It’s also very contract intensive. I can conduct my entire business from my desk, with the exception of showing the home and going to the attorney’s office to sign documents, but everything can be done from my desk. However, there are so many documents involved, that I have to stay up-to-date with local and state laws, and federal laws, and that’s the reason why I have attorneys. But I have to know what they’re talking about, and when to review my contracts, which usually happens every year. You can see that it’s one for the other. You can do it yourself, you can do it from the comfort of your desk, or you can go out and knock on everyone’s door, or send letters, or drive for dollars. Whatever the case may be you can be successful at both of them, it depends on what you want to do.

Now when it comes to different businesses, for example if you are a technician, if you’re a plumber, or you’re an electrician, don’t just jump ship. Start learning what it takes to start your own business. Make sure you don’t have do not compete agreement, talk to your attorney I’m not giving you any kind of legal advice here. I’m not licensed to do that. But do learn what it requires for you to start the business that you are envisioning, and what steps you have to take to get there. Don’t wait until you’re retired or your company is downsizing to get started. Times are changing, so either you get with the times or you get left behind. I didn’t really quite understand what that meant until I saw the wave of entrepreneurs hitting the work place. That’s kind of an oxymoron to say that they’re joining the work place when they’re actually starting businesses. Because you’re your own employee, you’re not really joining the work force, you’re starting businesses. A lot of them are doing it solo. You have these young entrepreneurs creating videos online, and websites, and what used to be so difficult – outsourcing materials to build something, you can find all that information online now. These very young entrepreneurs take trips to China to meet with manufacturers, because they had an idea, they had a prototype and they learned how to register it and so on and so forth.

The possibilities are endless and we’re moving very, very fast, don’t get left behind. Understand that this is happening and do something about it now. I remember talking to a warrant officer, and he was just full of knowledge. He had so many stories and he was one of those guys who was just so relaxed, but he was somebody you could count on as a leader. He had the leadership skills, but he didn’t have to flaunt them. He didn’t have to raise his voice or get angry. He got things done, at that time I thought it was by magic, but he just got them done. But he had the idea that, when he retired, he was going to convert a bus into a RV. This was in the 90’s so it wasn’t that mainstream, and the internet still wasn’t in full force, it was still a vision: ‘Imagine that now people are going to be able to type something in and then connect to the entire world for the information.’ That was still a dream back then. Well I thought that was incredible, but when he started talking about “well when I was young, in the military…” people used to be able to smoke right next to their racks. You were allowed to have two alcoholic beverages per day, and he could neither confirm nor deny if they did drugs that are now illegal, essentially marijuana. Because we’ve all seen the movies of the Vietnam era, where that wasn’t really frowned upon. But the times are changing, so what he experienced was partly something that I experienced as well, where the company, because the military is like a company, it’s its own mini society that reflects what the current society is going through, goes through changes. Rules and regulations change, people’s outlook in life change, their attitudes, their behaviors, everything changes. And if you don’t change with it, you’re going to get left behind. That was one of the things that I didn’t realize what it meant until crossing my 15 years in, and started to see all these changes that I was too resilient to accept. Take a look at yourself and maybe on the position you’re in, and if you love your job great! You are in a place where  very few are. If you don’t love your job, then it’s probably because you’ve been there for too long. I don’t know, it’s a possibility. So then I understood why people could retire at 20 years, or probably 30 years tops, with very few and far between exceptions. It’s because the times change so fast, and you can’t really teach an old dog new tricks.

Another thought exercise is the secret to immortality, of longevity. I’ve heard before ‘oh the secret of a long life has been revealed! And there’s a secret for…’ there’s no secret, we all know what we have to do if we want to live longer. Have a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, get good sleep, don’t smoke, don’t drink alcohol, don’t stay in the sun too long, you get it. We all know, but we choose not to do this because a lot of that is part of living. Now the question is; have you ever spoken to someone who is over 100 years old who would like to live for another 100? I imagine, because obviously I’m not over 100 years old, that at some point you’re just ready to check out. The author Anne Rice illustrated this the best that I’ve seen so far. If you don’t know Anne Rice, she wrote a lot of vampire books, Interview with the Vampire for example, which was made into a movie – it’s a good movie, the concept was vampires being immortal. They would experience things in a cycle, that’s where the meaning of history repeats itself comes from. Wars are always the same, there’s empires that rise, empires that fall. There are successes, there are failures. There are politic alliances, there are treaties broken. People are nice, then people are mean and so all of these changes happen, but they start repeating themselves in the cycles. What happens is that these vampires would live for so long that eventually they would just kill themselves. They would be so bored with everything that the world had to offer that they couldn’t stand it, they couldn’t handle it anymore. So the idea of living forever is something that at first glance we all kind of want, but think about it carefully, and think that maybe there is a reason why our lifespan is probably 80 to 100 years, on average. It may be a good thing.

So get together with the times, get started right now. Don’t wait for the perfect day or the perfect moment, because right now is the perfect moment. Get started, knock it out of the park, you’ll be fine and have a blast with your life. Thank you.