Episode 7 – Lenora Edwards

Episode 8 – Brad Allen
July 29, 2019
Episode 6 – Savings: Short, Mid & Long Term Saving
June 17, 2019

Lenora Edwards

We start this episode with a story about a young woman who thought she had to make a job decision but soon realized she was making a values decision. My guest is Lenora Edwards; a business owner who does business development consulting for entrepreneurs & executives. Lenora and I explore the lessons from our opening story about creating life balance in this “Hub” conversation.


Thom: [00:00:16] Hi, I'm Thom Allison, your host for the Financial Wheel Podcast, and welcome to today's episode. Today we're gonna be having a hub conversation. You might recall from the first episode where we talked about have a hub conversations, spoke conversations, and tire conversations. Today we're going to focus on hub conversations. They flow out of the idea that your money is there to support your life as opposed to what some people might think think they should do. And that is to live your life, to make money. But if you subscribe to the idea that money is a tool to help support your life, then you want to have conversations about what you want that [00:01:00] life to look like. What are the things that are really important to you? What are the things you'd like to do? What are the things that are valuable to you? Those are the types of conversations that you should have. There's another nice advantage to doing that too, because we all have to say no to something. And sometimes when we're saying no, we do it with a sense of guilt, maybe a sense of a kind of resentment. But if you've clearly defined what you want your life to look like, then it becomes much easier to say no to the things that don't fit into that life and to do it without guilt and without resentment.

Thom: [00:01:35] So that's what hub conversations are. And that's what we're going to do today, is we're going to have a hub conversation to introduce this. I want to share a story with you that Chip and Dan Heath tell in their book titled Decisive How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. It's the story of Kim Ramirez, who in 2010 was living in Chicago, working [00:02:00] for a fairly well-known Internet company. She had recently been married to Josh in the summer, and life was going pretty well for them at that point for the first time in their relationship. Neither one of them were working really crazy hours. Neither one of them were traveling a lot. But then she got a call from a former colleague that she had and it was clear that he was trying to recruit her to come to a startup tech company that he had gone to work for. First, she wasn't interested, but she listened and she agreed to have lunch with the founder of the company who was going to be in Chicago. So she went to that lunch and she found that shoe was really pretty excited about what this guy was doing in the vision that they had for this company. So as a result of that, she agreed to go to the company headquarters for a visit in Boston. That trip took place in about mid December of that year.

Thom: [00:02:57] And when she was there, she [00:03:00] was kind of paraded around the office there. Got to meet with a number of the other account executives. The position they were talking to her about was to be the account executive in Chicago. So they were talking to her about that. And she started asking some really good questions. She was asking questions like, how often do you travel in your job? What kind of hours do you work during the week? And then she quizzed them a little bit about their experience selling the products. When people don't buy the product, what are the usual reasons when customers don't renew their purchase? Why is that? And I want to take a side trip here for a moment away from the story. It just kind of point out that these questions that she was asking are just confirmed in questions. Typically, we are all biased towards looking for information that confirms our thoughts are confirms our decisions. And it's really important when you're making decisions to actively try [00:04:00] to find information that goes against your natural instincts that will help you make better decisions. And that's what she's doing here. Very good questions that she was asking. You know, the answers she got back, she thought were those sales, Lee, but, you know, they were trying to recruit her.

Thom: [00:04:13] So that kind of made sense. And at the end of the visit, then she got a formal job offer from the founder of the company and the compensation was good. The role was a substantial step up from the job that she had right then and there. It sounded great. She went back to the airport. She called Josh and she said, you know, this sounds like it's a great new challenge. It's a great step up for my career. I'm really, really excited about this. When she got back, she sent a note to her boss about the trip because she felt she owed it to him. And he called her and told her, you know, how much they really valued her at the company and then hung up. A few minutes later, she got a call from her boss's boss saying [00:05:00] that she would like a little bit of time to prepare a counter offer. So Kim Ramirez agreed to let her have that time. This was around the Christmas holidays, so she knew it'd be a week or two before she would hear back again. And here she was now in a great position. She had two companies that. Really wanted to have her services, but she also was able, because she was waiting for this counter offer to put a little space between the excitement of that trip to Boston and actually having to make the decision.

Thom: [00:05:31] And as the excitement of the Boston trips or wore off a little bit, she started thinking, you know, I know they said they didn't work crazy hours and all that, but it's a startup company. You know, you're going to have to work crazy hours and is it really worth it? And the more she thought about, the less certain that she was. She said, in fact, I felt pretty nauseous every day. I felt like I couldn't get my head straight. I didn't know what I wanted to do. She called friends and asked for some advice. And [00:06:00] one friend was very supportive of the idea, but also said, don't underestimate the value of the flexibility you have right now in your current job. And that's when she recognized that there's something about this decision and why she was stuck. She realized that it wasn't a job decision at all. It was a values decision. Think about that. Not a job decision. A values decision. Growing up, she had always seen herself as an ambitious woman. And from that perspective, taking the job in Boston made an awful lot of sense. But on the other hand, with where she was right now and the flexibility, she had been able to develop some balance in her life, some time to spend with Josh, the time to spend with friends and time to spend with her family.

Thom: [00:06:44] And she was valuing that, too. So she had to make a choice between these two visions of herself. She was waiting for the counter offer. And then one day in late December, she went for a run at the gym and five miles into the run. It suddenly hit her a [00:07:00] question, what do I work for? What's the purpose of it? Have you ever asked yourself those questions? What do you work for? What's the purpose of it? She said the thought hit her like a lightning bolt. She said I almost fell off the treadmill. Things started tumbling into her mind right away. She said I worked to make enough money to be secure, to travel with Josh to take a photo class if I want to take my sister out for dinner. But I don't have enough time to do these things that I love. It won't matter that I have more money or more responsibility. And with that, it became crystal clear to her she had to stay in the job that she was in. And she said she was at peace about that, cause she was even more at peace of it when the counteroffer came. And it was almost as good as the offer that she had had to go to Boston with pay just slightly less and an opportunity to be promoted within a year.

Thom: [00:07:51] So a little bit less pay, but a lot of flexibility and a lot of freedom. So that was Kim's story and [00:08:00] that's going to form the basis of our conversation today. But first, I want to thank Chip and Dan Heath for giving me permission to share that story from their book, Decisive How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work. And I'm going to put information about that book on our Web site, which is Financial Wheel Podcast. net. So you go to FinancialWheel. net, that net, you can find out a little bit more about the book and have an opportunity to pick up a copy and read it for yourself. I think it'll be really valuable to you. But the reason I want to share that story is that I think it fits very well into the club conversation that we want to have today with my guest on this podcast, Leonora Edwards. The Nora is a business owner herself. So she struggles with a lot of these life balance questions. She works with other business owners, helping them with their business development, with their revenue generation. But she also finds a lot of time. She is working as a thinking partner alongside of them as [00:09:00] they struggle with these types of issues. So, Leonora, welcome to the podcast today.

Lenora: [00:09:02] Thank you, it's my pleasure to be here, Thom.

Thom: [00:09:05] Well, we're really excited that you're here, and I want to just start by kind of going back to this story for a minute. This is a story about a woman who is trying to make a choice between two jobs. She wasn't self-employed. She wasn't a business owner. She was an employee, but she was trying to make a choice between two jobs that would offer different types of revenue generation and different types of life balance types of decisions. But it seems to me there's a lot of parallel to that with what a lot of business owners. Do you see those parallels or am I just seeing something weird here?

Lenora: [00:09:40] You're definitely spot on. I think every time an entrepreneur gets a new business opportunity, they're evaluating what is best for me, what is best for my business and its future. And unfortunately, they go exactly to that place of, oh, how much money is there? And I would be stupid to not take this opportunity and turn away [00:10:00] that money.

Thom: [00:10:01] So you find a lot of times money is their decision.

Lenora: [00:10:05] Or where they begin to think about the decision.

Thom: [00:10:07] Or where they begin to think. So there they're sort of like I'm looking to live my life to make money.

Lenora: [00:10:14] Yes, and not not necessarily. That's not what they said when they started their businesses. But it is what happens when they start going into survival mode. You know, we have a society that's setup that's all about say yes to the business. Get as much money as possible. Make hay while the sun shines. You know, don't turn away business. You don't want anyone to think you're not interested. There are just a lot of false ideas out there about what a business owner should do that are based on people who usually meet up with those business owner, a cocktail party. And, you know, they're talking from the framework of staying employed. And it's not the same as what can happen when a business owner chooses the wrong business opportunity, because I can create all kinds of problems, even if the money part was right.

Thom: [00:10:56] Chooses the wrong business opportunity. Could you expand on that a little bit? I'm [00:11:00] quite sure you know what you're thinking there.

Lenora: [00:11:02] Well, I like my clients to really consider business opportunities in all sets of lights. I mean, it is. What is this? Does this client fit your ideal client profile? Are these the kind of people you love to serve? Is there a natural energy generating, revenue generating thing that comes out of it? What about what it says to your other clients? Are you? By taking this assignment, are you reinforcing the idea of the kind of work that you want to be known for, what you want to be branded for? Or is this a left turn that might confuse the marketplace? Because you took an assignment that was different than normal. Even though the money might sound big, sometimes the money like, oh, it's a one year contract and it sounds like it's really big. However, when we do an analysis, we find that the margin isn't that great. Is it smart to take a lower margin opportunity, which sucks up so much of your time, therefore taking away the ability for you to take a higher margin possibility? Or what about resources? Will you have to add more resource resources to your company in order to take on this great opportunity? Only it's [00:12:00] the kind of resources that you won't know what to do with after the assignment is over. Those kinds of things.

Thom: [00:12:06] So what I'm hearing, you're saying that it's really a question people who are in business, they've got their business going, and so they have an opportunity in that business to do something that maybe isn't straight in line with their mainstream business. It's kind of a one off project that has some really good potential financially.

Lenora: [00:12:25] Exactly. And it goes back to what you were talking about a moment ago about the values, because just like humans have values, businesses and cultures they're building both internally or externally with their audiences are building up a set of values. And many times companies can go sideways on that. I mean, that's that's something talked about. And there's a book called Let My People Go Surfing. And by the Patagonia founder. And what he talks about is at one point we just started to hate our company from the inside out. And we had to redesign it because we were causing too much waste. You know, and on the earth's resources, [00:13:00] we were our people were overworked. So, again, it went against the values of the company and what they set out to do to begin with, which, you know, which didn't mean they weren't making money. It just went against the culture.

Thom: [00:13:11] Yeah, I see where that kind of takes a company in a wrong direction, but a company is really made up of the people who are there and it's really reflective of the personality of the founder when it's a small company or sometimes the sole owner of the company and all of that. How do other issues around their lives play into how their business functions, how well it functions?

Lenora: [00:13:37] I think that the owner's concept of time is plays into it a lot because I think many people who start businesses and even then when they've been in there many years. Their idea of time and that their time is free time and the time they can invest in things that may or may not work for them. They can act like it's free. And so I like to help clients understand the idea of what lost opportunity cost really means [00:14:00] and lost opportunity cost. Meaning, you know, your potential for gaining future business and future opportunities can be so expensive that the current fee someone would pay right now could be completely cancelled out. So I think that I think that I see that interfering a lot. The idea of how they manage their time, how much a dead time they create by maybe driving around too much or having too many administrative tasks, they do themselves together. Part of the time thing is failing to be proactive. Sometimes when people start businesses, they have the feeling of, I don't know what's going to happen. Therefore, I can't predict what's going to happen. Therefore, I can't do things that would actually make things happen. So I have to sit back and see. So failing to be proactive and use time. So the theme I see is all around the value of time. There's also another thing around delay is expensive, not acting quickly enough, including saying no fast enough so you can move on and see what else is there. Time is a big deal. As for business owner and especially Solo Entrepreneur especially. [00:15:00]

Thom: [00:15:01] So time is a big deal and that kind of gets around to this life balance thing because, you know, I've I own my own business and I remember when I started it. Going home seemed like it was an option to require. But, you know, it's just, you know, my time is here if I'm not spending time here. This this thing's going to fall apart or I'm going to be dead. I'm going to be in trouble. And, you know, that's just sort of the thought process that was there. I don't think I was that unusual.

Lenora: [00:15:31] No, I think that's a super, super popular way to be because it's a feels like make or break, especially those first three years or so, and if I don't have my eyes on the prize and I take my eyes off of that prize for a while, I might miss out and fail my family and not even myself if I'm by myself. Yeah. Don't say no. Don't overlook an opportunity. Work as hard as possible. But the thing is, there is a lot to be said for the value of the time. You're not doing something so that you get that perspective. [00:16:00] Like when your main character in your story was taking that time to consider and reflect, to get over the excitement and the giddiness of something and even the flattery of being appointed or chosen for something and sitting back and seeing how it feels after sleeping on it, perhaps talking to some people.

Thom: [00:16:18] So this might be a good time to take a quick break right here, and when we come back, I'd like to do is talk a little bit to get back to the life balance idea of when you are wrapped up in starting a business. How do you how do you create life balance? How do you keep your business from being totally overconsuming? So let's talk about that when we come back from the break.

Thom: [00:17:18] So [00:17:00] welcome back. Again, we're talking with Lenora Edwards, my guest today on the Financial Wheel Podcast., and we're talking about business owners and life balance. And actually, I realize that a lot of you who are listening right now might not be business owners, but I don't want you to tune out because when we'll get to this a little bit later on. But a lot of the same types of life balanced decisions that business owners have to make. Career people have to make as well. There's a lot of similarities there. And we will talk a little bit about those similarities as we get going. But first, let's just talk about life balance. I mean, when we left, we talked about the idea that it's real easy to get consumed [00:18:00] in your business and to let your business kind of consume you from your experience. What have you seen some people do where they've successfully been able to keep their business in perspective and maintain a life balance?

Lenora: [00:18:14] I'm going to answer that question for sure, and I have to I'm smiling right now thinking of a client. You know, a lot of times we think about life balance and we think of the threat to life balance, work life balance because we're doing too much work and not having enough in life. There's the other thing that happens, by the way, especially for very excited people who are new to their business or new to a pretty particular career role. And that is they are so excited about working in it because they leverages all their strengths that they experience what one of my clients called time dilation. I just loved it when he told me that, I said, what happens if your spouse is explaining to me that you are working so much that you're not having time for vacation or even to eat dinner together? So tell me what's happening to you. Like, is it because your job is hard and this was a guy who is going to leave the corporate world, start a business. So we really wanted to get a [00:19:00] handle on his habits so that he carried forward the best ones that would serve him in his business, not so much the other ones. So he's he's explain to me about time dilation. Well, what he was telling me about was his flow experience he had when he was doing work that he was really good at. So that's another danger, if you will, even though it sounds kind of positive, it has a negative impact because it's still working too much, maybe for a better reason, but it's still a threat.

Thom: [00:19:24] It's still taking time away from your family. It's taking time away from, you know, other activities that you might enjoy, that you actually might also find flow.

Lenora: [00:19:32] Exactly. Yeah. And, you know, working in the zone. So that was exciting to figure out. But. But, you know, when one of the things that I like my clients to think about, because we've got to protect them from the things that threaten them with the work life balance upset and the things that threaten them with the work life balance is illness. I mean, I have seen my clients work themselves into the E.R. at the hospital. I have definitely seeing that. I've seen my clients work themselves into a divorce or separation because [00:20:00] of the neglect that happens. And neglect is probably the best word to use as an umbrella over all these conditions. Neglect of health, neglect of relationships, neglect of their homes or other assets just or even. How about neglect of their self-awareness and what even when they need to make them selves happy because they could become almost robotic and as far as producing an awful lot. So I like to make sure that my clients understand that, you know, whether you're a business owner or an executive, when you look at your time that you're spending in your endeavor.

Lenora: [00:20:29] 50 percent of it should be actually like doing the job, not 100 percent of it. Because when you delude yourself, I thinking that, oh, I have 40 hours a week, for example, I'll just spend spend that time doing all this billable work, working on the project, whatever it's like. Nope. If you do that, you've actually already have an overflowing cup of work load going on because you still need another 50 percent for professional development, for business development, for administrative type things. And so I think I think that one of the things that immediately [00:21:00] threatens an entrepreneur or an executive when they think about their time, that that automatically just like negates the work life balance is the idea that they're supposed to use all their working hours just for doing the thing. And it's like they actually need half of those hours. And the other half hour for getting ready to do that thing. And that if they if they think that way, they actually will end up with that reservoir of time to live their lives and then participate in relationships.

Thom: [00:21:27] Yeah, that's a good point, and I wish. It's one that I wish she had told me 15, 20 years ago because I definitely am an example of that. You know, that I just sort of felt like if I wasn't directly working with my clients or working on a project for my clients, that I wasn't working. And so I would spend by eight, nine hours a day in the office doing that. And then it was like, oh, by the way, I've got a business to run. You know, I can take a little bit of effort to maybe I should put something in that. And that would happen either [00:22:00] later in the evening or I get up early in the morning or I take work time or weekend time to do that. I mean, it just. Yeah, it's it's just not there.

Lenora: [00:22:10] And it has to come from somewhere.

Thom: [00:22:11] And it's got to come from somewhere. Yeah. So do I also want to take a moment here, because, you know, we talk about life balance and I'm not sure that that's a yeah, it's a nice fancy word. But what exactly does that mean is is something that somebody might be asking right now. And so I just want to point out that when we're working with clients, the way we think about it is sort of to come up with a balance of nine different areas. So in the nine areas I just read these off, they are family, your health, leisure, learning, inner growth, community, home, work and finances. And oh, by the way, I also realize that you are probably driving your car right now and you can't really write those down. So if you go to our Web site [00:23:00] at FinancialWheel.net, we'll have that list there so that you can kind of refer to that. But those are all the areas that kind of play into it. Life balance, you know, work is one of those. But it's one of nine.

Lenora: [00:23:14] What percentage is that Thom?

Thom: [00:23:17] Now I'm going to ask you that question. Lenora, what percentage should that be?

Lenora: [00:23:23] You know, it's interesting when I look at that and I think of the wheel, I think in order not to have a flat tire, it's equal. It's equal to all the other ones. And if you treat it that way, you know, which is what, you know, 12 percent or so. I'm just totally making that up. And you look at your health as equal to your work or you look at your work equal to how you participate in your community or leisure with family. I think it's an interesting way to look at it so that you if you can't imagine more things to do in the learning department or in the family department, you start creating more ways to grow in those areas so that they have the opportunity to support you in your work. This [00:24:00] is that balance. And I think that one of the ways, one of the signals I can tell when my clients are having their work life balance is threatened is that their choices? They feel like they have fewer choices, like that's what happens. It's like, oh, my gosh, I'm overcommitted in this area or another area. I now am forced to spend more time earning money because of what I committed to on this future objective or maybe even something with family have to do with vacation. But perhaps they over dreamed their vacation or their home and now they've got to work to catch up on that. That's otherwise known as debt, basically. Right?

Thom: [00:24:35] Yeah, right. Yeah. And yeah, that is. Yeah, it's actually it's another tool, but it's a tool that is easily abused. So, you know, debt management is just very, very critical. And you have to think about that a lot. But I will just since we mentioned it. I'd just throw out one rule of thumb and that is that you can use debt to acquire appreciating [00:25:00] assets, but never use debt to acquire a depreciating asset. And by the way, vacations depreciate very, very quickly.

Lenora: [00:25:08] The next day sometimes.

Thom: [00:25:11] Exactly.

Lenora: [00:25:12] Well, there's another kind of debt like in in the tech industry, for example, especially like software development and technical debt is talked about because when a product is released too quickly and perhaps there were some holes in the thinking the way that it was designed, then they have to issue patches later on to make them all right. That's called technical debt, you know, because the company has to go backwards to fix it. Right. I think when I think of the nine areas that you just described, I think we can create a kind of health debt. You know, if we ignore our health and work too much or an inter growth debt, you know, where we are not feeling fulfilled and we spiritually haven't gotten some answers that we'd like to seek or some fulfillment there. That's another way where we create a debt within ourselves and that those nine areas that we need to have balance.

Thom: [00:26:01] That's [00:26:00] an interesting thought. I haven't really thought of debt that way, but it but it is an interesting thing and and it sounds like it's like any other debt once you're in it, you have to work twice as hard to get out of it. Then you then you actually did to stay out of it in the first place. So, you know, trying to find that balance is really key. I am kind of curious, though, that, you know, your clients, as I understand it, hire you to help them with their revenue generation, with their business development. How do you get into these conversations with them and how do they respond to these conversations about managing their business in a way that gives them a life balance?

Lenora: [00:26:40] Wow. Glad you asked that. You know, I rebranded my company last year with the tagline Prosper on your own terms because I realized after almost 20 years of working with entrepreneurs, especially mostly Solo Entrepreneur, that nobody came to me and said, help me earn money at all costs. Help me, you know, sacrifice all my soul to the devil [00:27:00] so I can earn money. Nobody has ever said that. They're all very, very accomplished business people who had to sacrifice quite a bit while they were helping other businesses, helped money. You know, business that they worked for. So they tend to want to prosper on their own terms. So I grab that tag line and and trademarked it because I thought that's important. If you're not interested in that, you shouldn't be working with me. So I think that, you know, I cannot start an assignment without it with without asking a client what gives you energy, what drains your energy? Because I want to know about their unique makeup. You know what it is that motivates them and what is it that makes them just feel like they just wish they hadn't started that project after all. I like to know. I always ask them to develop their business saving commandments, their 10 business saving commandments. And this is where they have to write out after thinking about what gives them energy and drains their energy or perhaps their best gigs and worst gigs, they can come to a conclusion like.

Lenora: [00:27:52] These are the 10 things I require to do my best work. And so it might be things that are really quirky and personal. Like for me, [00:28:00] I need natural light. I cannot work in fluorescent light all day long and produce. I need to have some like look into nature, some sunlight. I also there are attributes of the people I work with. They have to trust me and be ready to make a change. And so I have my clients. Tell me, what are those things? These are dealbreakers. Because if any of these things are not represented by a future business opportunity, we're just we're going to say no to it. And this is this is a hard thing teaching a client to say no to business, because it's certainly not a natural instinct to say no to money income. And I like to help them protect their work life balance and their values by making sure that right from the get go, I have a unique understanding of who they are as a person and not just the fact that they're a bag of deliverables or a certain title that shows up and gives their client value.

Thom: [00:28:49] That's great. It's kind of sort of catch my breath here for a moment because it just makes so much sense to me that, you know, you need to sort of figure out who you are as a [00:29:00] person before you really figure out what your business is.

Lenora: [00:29:04] Well put.

Thom: [00:29:05] And again, I guess it comes back to that idea that, you know, that business is a reflection of the person who owns it. So it's going to be a reflection of you. Probably helps to know who you are before you go into it.

Lenora: [00:29:18] That's right, and that's why a lot of my clients are particularly well accomplished people. They've had a lot of experience. They seem to have a great deal of self-awareness. And most of them say no one has ever asked me this ever. I've never had the opportunity. I've always been waiting to be anointed and appointed by some senior someone in the organizations where I worked. But now, you know, it's like to be asked that and create a business model that's actually tailored to who I am. It feels like one person said this just feels so like a luxury. I'm like I said, it's not a luxury. It's an imperative. Because when we key into this, you're actually going to be deployed in a way that helps you generate the most revenue. And I've seen this. It's it works. [00:30:00] I've been doing it for almost 20 years. So I know it works. It's not. It might sound like a vanity project at the beginning, but trust me, I'm only working usually with breadwinners for families, not people who were doing things for a hobby.

Thom: [00:30:13] I understand. I also understand that it works because, you know, we do the same thing in our business. You know, we start with these hub conversations with what you want your life to look like, and we take people through a series of exercises to help them gain clarity around that and to think maybe a little more deeply than they have before and to kind of figure out where they're at. Because, again, it comes back to the idea that if your money's there as a tool to build this life, what's this life you want to build? And it sounds like it's the same sort of thing that if you're going to build a business, what's the purpose of the business and how do you how does who you are. Reflect into that?

Lenora: [00:30:53] That's right. And it's the idea of serving. You know, so there's this whole thing and, you know, corporate the corporate world. Servant leadership. And [00:31:00] sometimes people are not taught to serve themselves first. But it is exactly what they say when you get on an airplane. If you don't. If you not. If you don't. But you must put on your own oxygen mask first before you go to help other people. And in a business, if you wanted to be sustainable, you know, whether it's going to, you know, create wealth for your family, pay the bills, or whether you're even going to be building up and up and portfolio of employees, a stable of employees who go along that journey with you, you have to make sure that you understand what it is that you get your needs met before you could start meeting everyone else's needs.

Thom: [00:31:34] Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. I want to kind of go in a slightly different direction here for a moment because you mentioned that you have a lot of really kind of successful people who have transitioned. And I know that I have most of my clients actually are employees. We have some business owners, but most of them are employees. But a lot of them somewhere along the line say, I've [00:32:00] got this idea for a business. I think I would like to do this myself. And so, yeah, we factor that into their plan and we develop a saving strategy. So they've got some money so that you know that because you know that your income's going to take a serious dip every time you start a business. So, okay, how are we going to bridge that gap until your business gets up and running? So we spend a lot of time doing that. But I'm really kind of curious as to how does somebody go about deciding or what factors should they think about when they are making the decision to jump out of the corporate world and go into this world by themselves. So that's a question that I'd like to take up and let's take it up after the break is take a quick break here and then we'll come back and address that question.

Thom: [00:33:27] Welcome [00:33:00] back. Again, my guest today is Leonora Edwards. And where we left off was putting kind of the question to her about people who want to make the jump from the corporate world into the entrepreneurial world. What motivates people to do that? You know, what considerations should they be running through their brain as they're making that decision? How does someone go about deciding that? Well, let's take a deep breath and dive in.

Lenora: [00:33:57] Well, it's interesting what I've seen a variety of things sometimes [00:34:00] it comes from a bad place, like a negative impact that makes them make that decision and and that makes them finally say, you know, what could be worse than this? I have to say that was my story. You know, I worked with some great mentors, had wonderful, wonderful executives that I reported to who helped me achieve things, you know, on their behalf and loved it. And then once in a while, I'd get somebody that was so hard to work with that I thought, oh, my goodness, you know what could be worse than this? You know, I I could. I'm think I'll be a better boss than this person. And so actually, I was motivated that way. And I've watched some clients make that decision. I have to say that even though it sounds negative, it actually can turn into a positive because there's something about kind of burning your boats and saying, I'm finished with this chapter, like I have achieved enough in the corporate world working for other people. And so now I'm ready to deploy my talents in a unique way. And that's mostly where most of my clients are coming from. They perhaps have become a subject matter expert and known for delivering a certain kind of unique service. But now they want to do it the way they would do it. And I don't this is not the prosper on your own terms. [00:35:00] Now it's about deliver on your own terms. So, for example, you know, I have quite a few consultants on the last year who not only express excitement and delight at delivering on whatever it is their clients need, whether it's in the marketing world or the finance world.

Lenora: [00:35:15] They are also excited about developing people while they're at it. So they make that part of their value proposition like, OK, don't worry, you're going to pay me X and we're going to get this initiative delivered. However, while you're at it, we're gonna level up all these people who report to you and her on this team. And when I leave, you get to keep that valuable team and they've all been leveled up. And then frankly, I don't want to do it unless I can level up the team. And so usually that idea of not just being finished with a chapter in their life, but saying I am so excited about doing it in this unique way that I want to be invited to do it in that unique way and charge accordingly, because that's a unique service and not a commodity, because I do see my clients wanting to step out of being a commodities asset to a company and be more of a unique value proposition. And [00:36:00] then if it at name what they think about concocting that for themselves, they're like, well, I'm going to go ahead and take credit for that and get all the money for it rather than having to assign a percentage to the company. So that's one thing.

Thom: [00:36:11] So it's the image that's sort of in my mind is that they have been swinging on this very, very good solid vine for a long time, but it's sort of gotten to the end of its energy and it's time to grow up. The next one and start that next swing.

Lenora: [00:36:25] Yeah, they realize, you know, this is becoming obsolete doing it this way, and so I'll have the freedom and that was it. That was also my feeling it wasn't just against the people I worked with. It was also this company is not nimble enough to do what I think needs to be done to address the needs of the market. Because that's the there's what we want to do. And then there's about there's the whole idea that how will we be appreciated, otherwise known as paid by the market for the value we deliver. And so sometimes people are they're really encouraged to hurry up and move on because the companies they work for aren't ready to capitalize on that opportunity. And they can see the need and they would like to meet that need themselves personally.

Thom: [00:37:02] So, [00:37:00] you know, we're seeing people who are leaving, too. It sounds like sort of do something similar to what they were doing in the corporate world, but only do it better. Are there people who are going? I've got this great idea to do something I've never done before. Or does that not show up as much?

Lenora: [00:37:20] No, I have to say, because of the financial risks. I'm not running into those people and it might be also because the barrier to entry for me is kind of high. Financially, I'm not a starter price point. And so there's not a lot of experimenting going on when they bring me into the picture. In fact, I talked to a prospect yesterday who is really clear. Well, I definitely would offer to bring you in later on when I'm more certain of this. And I thought that was really good on her part to discern the difference between experimenting with someone and trying something out versus that full commitment.

Thom: [00:37:53] Ok. So the full commitment kind of a critical thing.

Lenora: [00:37:55] It sure is. Yeah.

Thom: [00:37:57] So let's just say, for example, that I'm [00:38:00] the bad example because I've already done this now and and I made that choice for probably some different reasons, not the least of which was that I was having trouble finding a job. So I figured I'd start one of my own. Which I will say is probably not a good reason. What I've learned and fortunately transition to is that, you know, creating a job for yourself is a big mistake that you need. If you're going to create a business, create a business, don't create a job.

Lenora: [00:38:28] I completely agree with you, and I think that that's well said because once in a while I have met somebody who's especially during the recession. You know, I'm unemployable, you know, like meaning I don't want to be employed by someone else. And I'm like. That's not it. That's not like capitalizing on a strength. And like you said, there's also that that fine line that people perceive between creating a job for yourself, which, by the way. Go go buy a franchise then, because that's another way to get a job for yourself, is that. But there is a whole business model built in there, so you can make fewer mistakes. But the thing is, when [00:39:00] you design a business, there are a lot more levers and pedals on that where you need to make sure you think it through. And so that it will actually apply to the market and give you the response that you want.

Thom: [00:39:11] And also let you create a life balance, because it's it's also been both my experience and my observation that when you create a job for yourself, that job becomes all consuming. But if you build create a business, that's when there's the opportunity to bring other people in, to take on responsibility for things that maybe you're not as good at that take up a lot of your time. But as a result of getting that off of your desk, then it gives you that time to sort of create this life balance over here.

Lenora: [00:39:43] Yeah, and not only, you know, the idea of creating job opportunities for employees. There's also. Which creates more opportunities for you to be making more business happen. But there is the idea that you can create strategic alliances and co create with other entrepreneurs because you're available to [00:40:00] do so. And so again, if you're only set on making a job for yourself, it's also the problem with feeling threatened by others who are participating with you. And I find that the people who are so solo entrepreneurs that they are thinking that way that that's also very limiting.

Thom: [00:40:16] It is a is that. I've been there. And yeah, I was just a purely by chance, I managed to make a transition on that and it was the best thing that I ever did.

Lenora: [00:40:26] Plus, it's fun.

Thom: [00:40:27] Yeah. Yeah, it is. It is a lot more fun that way. I want to change directions here a little bit because, you know, we've been talking about business owners and it makes sense because that's who your clients are for the most part, our business owners. But yeah, there's certainly people who are working in corporations, especially people who are, you know, trying to work their way up the ladder, if you will, in corporations who struggle with life balance as well. And it seems like some of these same ideas that we talk about with business owners [00:41:00] apply to people who are employees. Do you see that, too? Does that make sense to you?

Lenora: [00:41:05] I definitely see it. I mean, there's the whole golden handcuffs thing, too. You know, we live in a very affluent area where people are paid well for their skills and the contributions they make. And so people can get on a track where they're not as thoughtful about what it means to the big picture. That is their lives or even the big picture. That is the story they're telling themselves about their careers.

Thom: [00:41:26] You know, we've talked about, you know, the idea of business owners kind of getting consumed in their business. You know, like my own experience when I started it is like going home is optional type of a thing. Have you seen it? I mean, first of all, you know, do you work with people who are employees or do you work exclusively? And so do you get a chance to see people struggling with some of these life balance issues as employees?

Lenora: [00:41:49] I'm definitely seeing executives, employees who have no intention of starting a business and talking to me about the exact same issues. And so just [00:42:00] like we can kind of work ourselves into a rut by working too much as a business owner, employees can work themselves into a rut by being continually known for delivering something that they feel after a while is kind of boring or small for them because they're growing and developing and they start becoming innovative and then they've kind of typecast themselves into a little trap where their employer is saying, I'm so glad you're good at that kind of reminds me when I was growing up, my mother would say, You're so good at cleaning the bathroom. That's gonna be your job. I'm like.

Thom: [00:42:27] Congratulations.

Lenora: [00:42:28] You know, it's like, can I do other things? No, I don't want to be typecast just for that. I'm actually quite interested in other parts of the home. So so employees run into that too, with their jobs. And even if it's super valuable and they're super good at it, I've seen plenty of a person and who has come to me and said helped me navigate to my next employee role by looking at things the way you would in an entrepreneur's and or in their business.

Thom: [00:42:54] And then when these people are doing this, do you have the same conversations with them about what's important, [00:43:00] what's what does life balance look like for them? And if they move to this new position that they want to get to. Is that going to disrupt this life balance or add to it? Or do you have those types of conversations with.

Lenora: [00:43:12] I definitely do. That's my way to make sure it kind of goes back to what you were talking about at the very beginning of our conversation around disproving, you know, what you're thinking is what your biases about why you would want to do something versus not want to do it. So sometimes I like to make sure there's a reality check in. And also so I know who I'm dealing with. Have they thought through it this way and do they care to or not care to and why so? Yes, because what will it mean is that this is always the question, what will it mean to you? Why is it important to transition your career and be known for X instead of Y especially? You know, I mean, you could be comfortable with Y, so. And why has it become uncomfortable, by the way?

Thom: [00:43:52] Ok. Any other comments that you want to add here as we kind of wrap this up today?

Lenora: [00:43:58] I want to say a couple more things [00:44:00] around the employees that are looking to make sure they have the work life balance and making sure that they're living true to their values. And that is the idea of looking at their career like a business and that they whether they feel it or not, they truly do have a choice as to how they shape what their personal brand is and what they're going to be known for. So I that's why I ask with those all those original questions. And I also help help them balance. Well, how valuable is that? That's that new combo of skills that peanut butter, chocolate, Reese's Cup thing that you're going to produce. You know, is there a buyer for it even in the corporate world? Are they going to go for it, too? Because, I mean, I'm not so concerned all the time about if somebody chooses a 1099 roll versus a W2. What I am concerned about is that they brand and and label themselves and present themselves in a way that commands the most value and that helps them get what they want, an end and end so that their careers working for them. And that's which is a good direct parallel to what you're working with your clients on. Let's let make your money work for you and the vision you have for your life rather than the other [00:45:00] way around. So I just I like to I like to remind people how much more control they have over that story that they're building, that is their career, whether it's working for someone else or working for themselves.

Thom: [00:45:11] Great. Thank you for that. And thank you, Lenora, for being part of our podcast today and this episode. It's been a great conversation.

Lenora: [00:45:19] Well, I appreciate the opportunity Thom is fun. Thanks.

Thom: [00:45:22] Good. And hope that you also enjoyed it and got a lot out of this again, if you'd like more information about if you'd like to see a transcript about this. You can go to FinancialWheel.net and that information will be available for you there. And also hope you'll join us for the next episode. We're going to start talking about money skills, as I had mentioned again early in the introduction. Money skills are 21st century survival skills. All these things that people used to do for themselves, like building their own house and growing their own food and providing their own fuel and fresh water. That's [00:46:00] all stuff that we rely on having money to be able to provide for ourselves. And as a result of that, money, skills are very, very critical. So we're going to be talking about money, skills, specifically what they are and how you can go about learning to be really effective in using money skills. Tell them keep your conversations positive and constructive.


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Nine Areas of Life Balance

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Want to test the financial planning water? Click on the links below and spend no more than 5 minutes completing the two surveys. When you send them in, we'll respond with information and resources to help you think through the issues and transitions you've identified.

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      Financial Satisfaction Survey


      Directions: The statements below will help you to think about and assess how satisfied you are with many aspects of your financial life. Indicate your level of satisfaction for each statement with stars.
      (1 star = "Not Satisfied", 3 stars = "Moderately Satisfied", 5 stars = "Very Satisfied")

      I am satisfied with...

      1. ...with my ability to meet my financial obligations

      2. ...with the income my current job or career provides me.

      3. ...with my spending habits.

      4. ...with the level of debt I carry.

      5. ...with the “extras” that I am able to buy for myself and/or loved ones.

      6. ...with the level and quality of insurance protection I currently have.

      7. ...with the amount of money that I save and invest on a regular basis.

      8. ...with my current investment choices.

      9. ...that I am on track to build a sufficient retirement nest egg.

      10. ...with the level of employee benefits I receive.

      11. ...with my style of personal bookkeeping and financial record management.

      12. ...with my ability to provide financial help to family members.

      13. ...with my estate plan.

      14. ...with my level of charitable giving.

      15. ...with the level of financial education I have attained.

      16. ...with how I respond emotionally to my personal finance issues.

      17. ...with my ability to communicate about my financial matters.

      18. ...with the feelings I have about my money life.

      19. ...that financial issues do not cause stress or strain in the relationships that are important to me.

      20. ...with the working relationships I have with my financial service providers (i.e., insurance agent, banker, broker, financial planner, accountant).

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      Life Transition Survey


      Directions: In each section, select the transitions that you are currently experiencing and those you are likely to experience in the future. In addition, check transitions in the short to mid-term and long-term columns that you either hope to experience or anticipate with concern.

      Work Life Transitions

      1. Change in career path:

      2. New Job:

      3. Promotion

      4. Job loss

      5. Job restructure

      6. Education / retraining

      7. Sell or close business

      8. Transfer family business

      9. Gain a business partner:

      10. Lose a business partner:

      11. Downshift / simplify work life

      12. Sabbatical / leave of absence

      13. Start or purchase a business

      14. Retire:

      15. Phase into retirement

      16. Other

      Financial Life Transitions

      1. Purchase a home:

      2. Sell a home:

      3. Relocate:

      4. Purchase a vacation home / timeshare:

      5. Re-evaluate investment philosophy:

      6. Experience investment gain:

      7. Experience investment loss:

      8. Debt concerns:

      9. Consider investment opportunity:

      10. Receive inheritance or financial windfall:

      11. Sell assets:

      12. Other:

      Family Life Transitions

      1. Change in marital status (marriage):

      2. Change in marital status (divorce):

      3. Change in marital status (widowhood):

      4. Expecting or adopting a child:

      5. Hire child care:

      6. Child entering adolescence:

      7. Child with special needs:

      8. Child w/pre-college expenses:

      9. Child going to college:

      10. Child getting married:

      11. Empty nest:

      12. Family special event (Bat/Bar Mitzvah, anniversary party, trip):

      13. Helping and/or gifting grandchildren

      14. Concern about aging parent

      15. Concern about health of spouse/partner or child:

      Legacy Life Transitions

      1. Increase charitable giving:

      2. Give special financial gifts to children/grandchildren:

      3. Give parental pension (monthly stipend):

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