Not everybody that has their own business believes they are a born entrepreneur. In fact many people struggle to come up with what they would do to earn their second income. I definitely was one of those who thought I was a corporate woman through and through… I never wanted to start my own business. And then things changed – I changed. I take you through my journey, my dead ends, and how I discovered my passion and problem that I wanted to solve.
- As a child, I never believed I would be anything but a corporate woman
- But circumstances meant I found myself in career limbo
- So I found myself wondering if I should rather have my own business.
- However – I had absolutely no idea what to do. So I began to explore…
- The reason you may want a franchise – and my investigations into that!!!
- How I discovered my passion
- Three ways to discover your
- Why everyone needs a second income
- Financial Freedom Podcast
- Financial freedom blog post
- Brave to be free podcast and blog post
- Six ways to make money blog
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Intro: 00:00 Welcome to Working Women’s Wealth, where we discussed what it takes to build real wealth in a way normal humans can understand. Here’s your host Lisa Linfield.
Lisa Linfield: 00:12 Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. We have over the last couple of weeks in the Solo sessions been discussing passive income, financial freedom and building a second stream of income, which will take time. But one that grows slowly and compounds every single day to get you into a position where you can have the choice as to whether you continue to work or not. Or if you get to retirement will have that extra bit of money that comes in every single day, every single week that helps you to pay the bills.
So, many people ask me, “Well, that’s easy for you to say. You’re an entrepreneur. You know what you want to do.” For many people, they assume that you’re born an entrepreneur.” I have to tell you that in my story that is absolutely not the case. I always, when I was growing up, exposed to really amazing CEOs. People who had been at school with my parents, or people who were in my family that were CEOs of large multinational companies. So, it always was in the realm of my possibility that this is what everyday people can do, because these were the people who changed my nappies. These were the people who were around, these are the people that I know.
It was always within my possibility that you could be a CEO of a large company. The biggest company at the time was IBM. So well, I’ll grow up to be the CEO of IBM. That, for me, was just a given. My dad was in business. We chatted a lot about business at the dinner table, “How was your day love?” And he’d tell us about what happened. I grew up thinking that well, of course, every ambitious young girl would want to be the CEO of a big company.
Although I took a circuitous route and got a bit sidetrack along the way, in terms of my education, and my first year of work, it was always thought to me that this was a possibility. But one of the things that as I look back is also obvious, is that I never ever thought about starting my own business. It was never a consideration for me to be an entrepreneur. My dad had his own business, but there was never a thought to me. I was going to be in corporate. I was born for corporate and made for corporate. So, I went very quickly through my early 20s, especially when I hit the United Kingdom and worked there, I was very blessed with my career. It was great. My concept was that I would meet a man, fall in love, birth two children and carry on going. This would be like a slight blip in the horizon on my way to getting this major CEO-hood. So, it was kind of going according to plan and all was fine. Then a couple of things happened at the same time that if you can imagine one of those cartoons when the characters are racing along through and maybe someone’s chasing it, and you racing racing racing, you’re going at high speed and poof, you hit a wall. Then you see the cartoon characters slide slowly down the wall. That’s what happened to my career. The combination of struggling to have kids and then having twins, and at that very, kind of same period of time going through quite a regime change at the corporate I was working for, and finding myself on the wrong side of the [inaudible 00:03:59] meant that my career ground to a halt as rapidly as it was going, so it stopped.
I landed in purgatory for a while. That place where you’re neither one way nor the other. I’d done some good work. So, on paper, there were things that I could do. But in actual fact, those opportunities we’re not going to be made available to me, and I was stuck. I was stuck in the situation for around four years whilst I had my kids and when they were big enough to be able to move for me to be able to invest the energy and time to start in another company.
So, an opportunity came up and I thought to myself, I’m going to take this opportunity. But it has to have been said that those four years of grinding to a halt had really made me start thinking about well, what happens if I become CEO of my own dreams? As one of my last podcast guests, [inaudible 00:05:03] I love that expression of hers, be CEO of my own dreams.
It had started to rumble inside me through this period. But I had no idea what I would do. I was a corporate chick. My passion was to solve problems, and corporates give you nice, big, large chunky problems to solve. So, I didn’t have something, I wasn’t an artist. I didn’t have one of these passions. Like when people say, ” What are your hobbies?” Well, it wasn’t building little model cars or anything that I could create a business on.
I read at that time, The Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki and I really subscribed to this whole kind of notion that you need to build businesses that generate revenue, that you physically don’t have to be present for every minute of the day. This whole concept of financial freedom. One of the things he had said in the book was, one of the models you could focus on was a franchise. I thought, hey, that’s a great idea, a franchise. His reasoning for it is that you are able to take a business model that’s been proven to work. You don’t need to build a brand because that’s already been built. It’s like cooking by numbers. You follow the ABC and D and up pops the business. And you get to learn about what it takes to run a business with minimal risk.
So, this seemed like a great idea. I investigated around the franchises. My dad was really from an early part of its startup career in a South African food chain, which had franchises, and I looked and investigated that model. But having grown up with a mom who was gourmet chef, I just think that wouldn’t have been my gift. So, I settled on a printing business. I was going to have a printing business. You know, where small businesses go to get the documents bound and printed and all of that stuff.
I remember having a very pivotal lunch with a fantastic, my very oldest friend. We’d grown up together in the same street and our parents are very good friends in the same street. Your oldest friends can tell you exactly what they think of your idea. He picked up laughing. He said, “Lisa, what do you know about a printing business?” I was like, “Well, I like nice printed things.” He said to me, “Have you ever even used one of those printing businesses?”
I stopped and I thought, well, actually I’ve never used a printing business, and I actually know nothing about it. I remember him saying to me, which was actually quite prophetic, often you need to take something as your first business and started on something that you know a little bit about, which in my case was financial services and managing money. Ironic prophecy because it was many years later until this happened. But I remember him saying, “Lis, you need to sell one thing once to one person for $1, one rand and repeat.” That is the key to then being able to build a business.
Once you’ve sold something once to one person, you can do this. I then went back and I thought, okay, [inaudible 00:08:13] I have no idea what to sell, I have none of these artistic passions. What am I going to sell, or what am I going to do, or how do I do this thing? Anyway, four years went past in this purgatory place, and an opportunity came up to go for a job interview to be CEO of a business. I remember going through the interviews and it was quite a long route through this whole interview process. I remember the question that I get asked all the time in job interviews is, “How, if you’re going to be the CEO of a financial services business, do we sell broad out there to the people in the public that our CEO has an undergraduate in physical therapy and a postgraduate in theology?” I remember laughing and giving my standard kind of humorous answer of, “Well, you can massage their numbers and pray like mad, is one of the ways that you can do it.” But just having this weight on my shoulders, and the fact that the year long course I did Atlanta Business School on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and all of the things that underpin being able to financially structure a merger and acquisition, meant nothing.
The courses that I’d done on finance, on distribution, on all these other things that were either certificates or courses meant nothing. That once you have put in huge amounts of work, that in South Africa, unlike in the United Kingdom, unless you have a degree in the field that you’re in, you had a credibility gap. It didn’t matter that I had 20 years of experience, and that I was the best candidate for the job, this question always came up.
Whether it was their need or whether it just is a natural question you’d ask someone who has such a crazy educational background, because I really believe that you should read widely in the world and learn widely in the world. So, when I choose to study things and do things, I choose things that are going to build me up. Whether it was just an inquisitive question by the interviewers and always will be because I don’t follow a standard box. Or whether it was because if I’m honest with myself, I have always had an insecurity about not going the chartered accountant route that so many people that are senior leaders in business seem to go.
For whatever reason it was, I found myself in a position where that role disappeared. The business restructured halfway through my interview, and that role no longer existed. It broke me because I was really set that this was my opportunity to get out of purgatory and become the CEO of a great business, and I knew I could do the job. But I decided that in that interim period of not knowing what my next step was, because I take myself on to this role, I then would go and study. I would go and get a Bachelor of Commerce because my excuse was, these people need it.
I did some investigation and I realized that there was a great course at the University of Johannesburg in financial planning that was a Bachelor of Commerce, in fact, it was an honors, and I could go and do this course in the evening. It would take two years, but I’d get a degree, and that would be great. I thought to myself, well, you know what, at least I will get to learn amazing things for myself. I went and signed up and started lectures way older than everybody else. I remember my boss saying to me, “Do they think that you’re a cougar? I said, “No, I think they think that I’m a geriatric.” Because all my colleagues were third year. They had all done the three years undergrad and this was year four out of university and they were fantastic people, but I was way older than them.
I embarked on this journey. To my absolute surprise, the lectures were enthralling. I loved it. The tax lectures, I could use so much of this in my own personal life. The estate lectures, I remember my big thing there was the protection of young children, and the importance of having a world in order to protect young children if their parents died.
It didn’t matter where I turned. Whether it was investing, which I loved anyway, all of the stuff I had done through my career. But this formal learning meant that instead of it being targeted to others out there, it just resonated with me. So, I discovered my passion. It was very early on in that course that I knew that this is what I wanted to do, and in fact that this was how I could be CEO of my own dreams.
So, the question that many listeners have is, that’s great for you, but how do I find what I need to do? The first and most obvious place that people can go to is their passions. So, if you are an artist or a sculpture, or you love teaching people … I have a client who teaches pilots in Turkey, English. Why? Because Turkey’s on the same time zone or similar time zone to us, and that pilots all need to learn English in order to be able to speak to the control tower.
So, if you have a particular niche or crazy niche with the global world out there, you only need to find a few others in your crazy niche of passion, and you can build a great business. For those of you out there that have a crazy passion, or a wonderful passion, or a passion that you can see spending your life doing, there is a whole world out there through online access that you can listen to podcasts on, that you can build your own podcast, that you could build your own website, and just build the people who are passionate about this. I can tell you that I’ve seen women who have made over $30,000 a month teaching, knitting. Teaching people how to do charcoal drawings, teaching the great mysteries of oil painting, and all these other female anglers, female fisher women, all of these kind of things. They have built businesses around these niches. Why? Because you set up an online business model, and that online business model connects these people all over the world. The second way that you can do it is something that smacked me over the head in a two minute podcast episode by Rich Mulholland, and that is on fixing a problem. He starts the podcast by saying, “Everyone will tell you that if you want to set up your own business, you need to do something that you’re passionate about.” And he says, “I don’t believe that you need to fix the problem.” It really struck me that this was a phenomenal piece of insight.
One of the biggest reasons why I was attracted to becoming a financial advisor was not just that I liked the content, it was that I loved being able to fix people’s problems when it came to money. I love the fact that I could share my knowledge with other people, and that aha moment where they realized that what you’re telling them can be a solution to their problem. That’s what does it for me, when people write me an email or leave me a review and they really genuinely have had an aha moment, it makes my day. There’s nothing better than that.
In reality, the problem that I fix and I love fixing complex problems, that’s what energizes me is that I fix people’s everyday money problems, and build and grow their wealth to enable them to live a life that they choose. I think that’s hugely important. There are many businesses that have been set up because people have said if I had this as a problem, you would too. They are businesses that help you access government queues. Queuing businesses are huge because nobody wants to sit in a government line forever.
Some will go and sit in the line and get your driver’s license renewed, or whatever it is that you need. Why? Because they’re solving a problem. Because they don’t want to sit in the line or they didn’t want to. If their assumption is that if they’re struggling with it, you will too. There are businesses that make food every single day for people’s lunch boxes. Why? Because busy moms have a problem called healthy food for lunch boxes, or healthy dinners when you all get home late, and you’re too tired.
People have set up businesses that solve people’s problems everywhere around the world. So, you can sit there and go through the things that really drive you nuts, and work out well, how would I set up a business to solve this problem in a unique and different way? How would I charge for the service? What can I do?
The third way that you can start a business is exactly as Robert Kiyosaki says, is get a franchise. It is a business model that has quite a low risk. Because by the time a person franchises their business, they’ve worked out a way to copy and paste it and make it such that other people can be franchisees. The other thing about it is they’ve built a brand so you don’t need to build a brand. The third thing is that they’ve proven that the concept works.
So, it’s not such a bad proposition to say, “Okay, let me start my entrepreneurship journey on building a franchise.” But again, as my wonderful friend said, “What do you know about this? What have you experienced of this?” Go and do your research and think clearly, don’t just get a franchise for the sake of a franchise. Make sure that it’s something that you enjoy doing because you’ve still got to work. It’s not just copy and paste, it’s copy and paste and work to make that business run and be viable. Anybody who’s ever had a franchise or who’s ever had franchisees say that you can get the concept to 100 different people and get 100 different outcomes. Because making a business thrive is hugely related to the amount of energy and effort and passion that the owner or the franchisee has.
So, those are three ways to come up with the idea of how you start a business, and what business it is that you want to start. We will in the future start exploring, okay, now you’ve got an idea, now what? So, please listen further for those episodes and visit our website on Working Women’s Wealth to see the latest resources on entrepreneurship and the things that you can do to create and build your own business.
I’m Lisa Linfield and this is Working Women’s Wealth. Thank you for listening.