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The BAREFOOT EXECUTIVEThe ULTIMATE GUIDE for Being Your Own Boss & achieving Financial Freedom
By CARRIE WILKERSON
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Carrie D. Wilkerson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJob Security, Tenure, Retirement, and Other Fairy Tales
You simply cannot spend your life in fear of losing your job, your health, your life or your wife. I decided that I had to create my own financial reality and job security. Was I afraid of failing? Yes, but I could continue being scared and broke, or I could be afraid and well paid. I chose the latter. At some point, you have to be more afraid of not trying than you are of failing.
Famous Last Words
"My husband has been working there so long, they will never lay him off." "I'm invaluable to the team. My position is absolutely safe." "My future is in my retirement funds. Those are secure." "Our company is very stable. I don't have anything to worry about." "Credit card debt is just normal; we're not in real financial trouble." "I have a college degree. I won't have any trouble finding a great job."
Well, to quote Dr. Phil McGraw, "How's that working out for you?"
If you've picked up this book, you are interested in this topic. You either have a nagging feeling that your career isn't secure, your future is wobbly, or perhaps you've already been shaken to your core with unwelcome change and now you're just seeking answers. I don't need to wow you with statistics or convince you that added income and stability would be a good thing. You get that already.
Perhaps you have a great career but you're maxed out, stressed-out, and desperately want or need a transition. Great. This is for you too.
Okay, so hang with me for a little while and let's be honest. You may have been laid off. Your spouse maybe has been laid off, or your mom, your dad, your adult child, somebody in your neighborhood. Maybe your hours have been cut. Maybe you've been demoted or asked to take a pay cut. Maybe your core business has been slashed like one of my businesses has because of the recession. (Was that too honest? You'll find that about me. No sugarcoating.) One of my businesses that used to be my primary source of income is now at about 40 percent of the revenue it produced just three years ago—so I'm not immune to what we're talking about. As a matter of fact, that is why I'm so passionate about it. Because if I were still solely reliant on that one business, I'd be in trouble!
I'm here to give you some hope and to tell you how I recession-insulated myself before I even knew a recession was coming.
I am not a big proponent of the fear factor or panic-driven marketing. I don't want everybody running around like Chicken Little saying, "Oh, the sky is falling, the sky is falling, and it's all the president's fault." "It's all the last administration's fault." "Oh, if only the mortgage companies ..." You know what, we can blame, blame, blame all we want and it's not going to help fix it.
I could blame my weight struggle on any number of factors if I wanted to be rid of the responsibility. The media has made it popular for me to blame genetics, fast-food places, additives in commercially prepared staples, and more. But the fact is, I have to own it and then I have to take the reins and go a different direction.
The recession is real and we're affected. Let's talk about what we can do about it. Okay? I hope you're nodding your head and you're with me.
Why do we need multiple streams of income? Why do we need "self-controlled and self-generated income"? Why? Well, for the primary reasons I told you about a minute ago, you don't want to be too reliant on a job. We all know that at the end of the day, the owner of the company is concerned about the owner of the company. Everybody else is expendable, period. That's true in my company.
At the end of the day, my husband and I are the only two who are guaranteed to have jobs on Friday—every Friday—from now till eternity in my company. That is just how it rolls. It doesn't make employers bad people. It doesn't make them selfish or uncaring. It's just economics; it's how it works.
The owner is in control of how the money is spent, and the owner is in control of who stays or who goes. So, you need to be the owner of a part-time or a full-time business.
Sounds almost too easy, doesn't it?
Kauffman Survey: "Nearly half of businesses started in the business owner's home or garage. Slightly more than 40% operated in rented or leased space, while the remaining operated at the site of a current client, or in a building or location bought by the business.
More than half of all businesses in the U.S. are run out of the home and employ more than venture-funded companies do. The reason for this growth is because of layoffs and a dull labor market."
—Jerry Osteryoung, Director of Outreach at Florida State University's Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
Chapter TwoWhy You Must Own a Business—and Fast
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
—Leonardo da Vinci
First, I should tell you that reading this book might not be popular with your spouse, your parents, your friends, and most especially, your boss! Status quo is what is comfortable for those around you. The fact that you picked up this book automatically sets you apart. But that might not be a comfortable place for you.
We are surrounded by naysayers, by nonsupporters, by people who just don't understand, and you have to cut them a little slack. You do!
We are raised and reared to be job-minded, to be employee-minded. We are sent to school and then to high school and then to college, told to get a good job, work for somebody else, come home, turn on the TV, spend some time with our family, and then do it all again, Monday through Friday. (If you're lucky, you don't have to work weekends.)
That's how our society has been conditioned ever since the Industrial Revolution and the time of factories and unions and hours and set, standard working conditions. That is how our communities are trained, that's what is comfortable for people, that's what they know, and so that's what they're familiar with.
Whether this is your first business or your one-hundredth business, your community, the parents of the kids that your kids hang out with, the people in your church, your family, the people at reunions and holidays will not understand you and—let me go ahead and let you off the hook—it is not your job to educate them all.
You cannot make them understand. Some of them never will; and some of them simply are comfortable the way they are, and any growth or change in you makes them uncomfortable, so what's a body to do?
What you do is consciously choose whom you surround yourself with.
Social Media Surroundings
Self-selecting groups on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are an excellent way to surround yourself with like-minded people, achievers, and people who understand you. How so? Working at home can be lonely. The people in your neighborhood and your family have perhaps known you since your pre-expert days, and they won't necessarily give you the credibility you need or deserve. They also have likely seen you start a diet and quit, perhaps start an exercise program and quit. Maybe they've seen you quit a job or change career paths or focus on several different things, and they won't be the sound voices of encouragement or affirmation that you need.
Maybe your peers "in real life" are not goal focused and are trained as employees, so this entire "start a business" phenomenon is a little hard for them to grasp and get excited about. In social media, you choose who is in the sandbox with you. Want big thinkers? You can find them there. Want goal-oriented folks? They show up there too! Want to quickly find other business owners, folks in your business model, or even other people who follow the same "leaders" as you do? That's easier to do than ever by using social media, search tools, and self-selected groups.
Need encouragement? Go to these places and tap those folks. Want to see other folks achieving without being embarrassed about it? You can find them in social media for the same reason you're there. If nothing else, go to TwitterBarefoot.com or FacebookBarefoot.com and I'll cheer you on when you need it.
Another way to find other like-minded people is through live events and workshops. Not necessarily just chamber events and networking events, where you're looking for clients and prospects or leads. Consider attending learning events for other business owners in your field, in your market, or even in new strategies for like-minded peers.
My annual event, "BE U," is a fabulous place to meet kindred spirits who are driven by their dreams. Every year in October, I bring in hundreds of small business owners to Dallas, Texas, for encouragement, education, and even some entertainment. We've featured famous speakers, such as Zig Ziglar and Dr. John C. Maxwell, but mostly speakers who are ordinary folks doing extraordinary things in business. I only invite speakers I've learned from, those I trust, and those with an extreme sense of integrity.
This is a "non-salesy" event, meaning the speakers aren't selling from the stage, they are teaching from the heart and they are attentive and interactive with the attendees during breaks, lunch, and sessions. In addition, we have breakout sessions during lunch, power networking. I really enjoy this "Barefoot family reunion" every year. What a thrill and honor to be in the presence of people with goals, visions, and dreams for their lives and their families.
For more information and to get on our notification list, you can go to BarefootExecutive.TV and click on the button with the BE U pennant. We don't want you to miss out if this sounds like your kind of crowd.
Masterminds and Mentors
I often seek out folks to support me intentionally, because sometimes the people around me don't understand. They don't understand:
what I'm doing with my business model
that my husband works at home with me
why we're home and around town during the day
why I travel for business when I don't have a job
why I can't always drop everything to go play (After all, I'm home and should be able to go have coffee with them when they call.)
that it's not about the money
Does any of that sound familiar?
I tend to have a very different social circle—a very intentional social circle. I pay to be part of a "mastermind." (We'll talk more about this in chapters 8 and 9.) I pay to be part of business groups and I purposely attend high-caliber events where I can be with people who are achievers, big thinkers, big action takers, and in a business model similar to mine.
That's how I feed my business mind, that's how I stay sharp. The Bible says that iron sharpens iron, so I choose to surround myself with sharp people, and by doing that, sometimes "paying to play"—call it whatever you want—I have discovered a handful of people who are my lifelong kindred spirits and best friends, and we do life together.
I didn't discover them in my town. I didn't just happen upon them. I found them intentionally. Are you hearing that? I intentionally surround myself with sharp people.
Recently I spent a few days in New York with some of my top partners from a promotion. Through some of my contacts and networks, we spent some time with businessman, author, and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV. We visited Gary's studios and I introduced my promotion partners to him and to some other influencers in the marketing arena.
These are people whom I had chosen to spend three days with. I chose to introduce them to other people in my network, in this case, a high-powered speaker and author, Gary "Vee." Suzanne Evans, one of the participants, said, "I got into the space of Carrie Wilkerson on purpose because Carrie has surrounded herself with the most amazing high-caliber, quality people. I cannot even imagine the people that I'm sitting at this table with." (We were at a sandwich shop with four other authors, speakers, and international business builders. It was very cool.)
When you surround yourself with people of high caliber, then you begin to draw other people of high caliber. There is a powerful magnetic effect.
There is a really strong, high caliber of people at BE U because they know that I surround myself intentionally and that they will meet some amazing people. It challenges them to be their very best too.
BE U is short for "Barefoot Executive University" and the entire theme is "Be Exceptional. Be Extraordinary. Be You."
Leave Your House
I initially began my work teaching and speaking as the Barefoot Executive primarily because working at home felt so alone and different from what everyone else was doing. How do you combat isolation, insecurity, and other obstacles that we all encounter? I believe you should embrace social networking, live events, local networking groups, your local or greater area chamber meetings, Tweetups, and a mastermind or inner circle. Just trust me when I say, if you are depending on family reunions, PTA meetings, and church to satisfy your need for meaningful social interaction with other businesses, you are sorely mistaken. It just won't be enough and you'll find yourself "stuck."
Find a Forum
Be part of a targeted forum or two. I remember when I started my investigation into the world of growing my business online, my whole purpose was to connect the work-at-home community because I had been feeling alone, isolated, insecure, uncertain, and as if I were the only one doing what I was doing. So I wanted to form a community online to attract and surround myself with other people working at home. I joined a forum for membership site owners, operated by a friend of mine.
On that forum I started talking to people about what they were doing, what their new Web sites were going to be, and what their interests were. I got involved in several conversations. As a result, several people I met became very strong allies, and we have likely added multiple six figures to each other's incomes through cross-promotions, cocreated products, and introductions to each other's connections.
Don't underestimate the power of a forum but do choose your forums wisely. You typically get what you pay for. A free forum has other people looking for free forums, so that's all I'll say about that. A forum can be a very powerful way to connect, especially if your time is limited, your travel is limited, and you are a little nervous. So connect with some people on forums. Be careful of the negative forums and "bash and trash" forums. The folks hanging out there are not being profitable or productive in their businesses or lives. Be as selective about whom you spend time with online as you are in person.
Excerpted from The BAREFOOT EXECUTIVE by CARRIE WILKERSON Copyright © 2011 by Carrie D. Wilkerson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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