Strategies For Building A Successful Self-Employed Life
In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Jeffrey Shaw. Jeffrey is an experienced speaker and small-business consultant. He helps self-employed and small-business owners gain control of their business in what otherwise seems like uncontrollable circumstances. He’s also the author of a book called: The Self-Employed Life: Business and Personal Development Strategies That Create Sustainable Success.
To be self-employed means more than employing oneself. It’s a choice to challenge yourself to grow personally while building a business. As we develop ourselves, we raise the bar—we’re capable of even more success. What self-employed folks need is both business strategies and personal development to reach and maintain that success. In this episode, Jeffrey Shaw shares his holistic approach for sustainable, self-employed success.
Questions I Ask Jeffrey Shaw:
- [1:55] The term “self-employed” used to be looked upon differently — has the perception changed now?
- [4:36] In your mind, what is self-employed, and what space are you trying to carve out?
- [11:20] What’s your approach to personal development from your own experience?
- [14:01] When you’re working with small business owners and self-employed folks that you work with, where do you see people commonly kind of fall down?
- [16:01] What is the self-employed ecosystem you’ve mentioned?
- [19:02] What are some of the traits and habits that you can identify that really serve people trying to achieve balance and build this ecosystem?
- [22:22] What are some of your thoughts on self-employed individuals in terms of hiring them to do work for you?
More About Jeffrey Shaw:
- His book: The Self-Employed Life: Business and Personal Development Strategies That Create Sustainable Success
- The Self-Employed Summit
- The Self-Employed Assessment
More About The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network
- Check it out at https://ducttapemarketing.com/marketing-consultants/
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John Jantsch (00:00): Today's episode is brought to you in part by Success Story, hosted by Scott D. Clary and brought to you by the HubSpot podcast network. Success Story is one of the most successful, useful podcasts in the world. They feature Q and A sessions with successful business leaders, keynote presentations and conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship. A recent episode had Terry Jones, the CEO of Travelocity and the chairman of Kayak.com. Talking all about disrupting existing industries with technologies so much for us to, to think about and learn in that episode. So listen to this success story podcast, wherever you get your podcast.
John Jantsch (00:54): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jeffrey Shaw. He's an experienced speaker and small business consultant. Uh, he helped self-employed and small business owners gain control of their business and what otherwise seems like uncontrollable circumstances. Nobody feels that though really do they
Jeffrey Shaw (01:22): To the show. Hey John, I'm so glad to be here with you. Thank you.
John Jantsch (01:25): So forgive me, but you were on for lingo weren't you, were you on?
Jeffrey Shaw (01:30): I don't think so. No, I don't. I don't think, I think this is my first time. And so this is a, this is a career milestone achieved.
John Jantsch (01:37):
Jeffrey Shaw (01:46): Indeed. So
John Jantsch (01:47): Let's talk about this term. Self-employed mm-hmm
Jeffrey Shaw (02:06): It? Well it's I love that you framed it that way because you know, I don't know if, if banking industry sees any more security in it, but I think it's really important that we, that we take ownership of the term self-employed in order to change that, because the fact matter is I don't think if we're self employ and truly identify as a small team, maybe even a, a business of one, we don't necessarily fall under the parameter of small business. And that's my biggest concern. Yeah. You know, we're often too small to get some of the benefits that say government financing might offer to a small business. And I think it's important. We take ownership of the self-employed. What, what I think has changed even more. So honestly, John is the, is kind of the, comparing it to the term entrepreneur. Yeah. I think entrepreneur nowadays means like, you know, you're in between jobs where, what I like about self-employed is that it, it describes the lifestyle and the business model. So I, I favor, I definitely favor that.
John Jantsch (03:03): Well, yeah. And we could break cuz I think people have defined each of these terms, but can I for a minute you said that about the mortgage, you know, thing, I, you know, I've owned my own corporation that
Jeffrey Shaw (03:22): Yeah, no, exactly. It's it's uh, yeah, the banking industry I've always felt that the banking industry should require coaching with small business loans in order to increase the rate of success, which in the long run would hopefully make us more bankable and I'll
John Jantsch (03:37): Stop ranting here. But I, I literally have had a banker or a mortgage person asked me why I had so much money in the bank. And I was like, well, I, I, I make more than I spent. Yeah. It's pretty simple. Really.
Jeffrey Shaw (03:51): That's awesome. Let's something many of us here
John Jantsch (03:56): Let's get well. And I IM, and I'm not saying that like as a bragging thing, but I'm just like, why would you be suspicious of that? Yeah,
Jeffrey Shaw (04:02): Exactly. Only a banker would be suspicious of that. That's what's great about it. Right. So,
John Jantsch (04:05): So let's do talk about these terms because, um, you know, self-employed small business entrepreneur, let's throw a freelancer in there. Let's throw gig worker in there. Let's throw pride hustler. I mean all of these kind of a nuance, meaning, I mean, we're what, what is self-employed because obviously you could be self-employed at and, and be an S Corp. Not have any employees. I mean, so what do you, what in your mind is self-employed what, what space are you trying to carve out? Yeah.
Jeffrey Shaw (04:31): So to me, it's what the space I'm trying to carve out is to also recognize the lifestyle, right? Because being self-employed is, is unique in so many. And it's what the it's those problems that I want the book to address, you know, so some of those problems are for one, you know, the old adage in business that it's business, don't take it personal
Jeffrey Shaw (05:21): So we then have to go all over the place to find the different parts of what we need. Right. We hire coaches for our mindsets. We hire, we, we, we buy courses and we attend conferences and webinars and we hire specialists and for every different part of our business, and then whether others accuse us or we accuse ourselves of being all over the place. So one of the really core shoes I want this book to address is trying to get everything together. There's personal development. I mean, I've got over a thousand hours of training as a coach. So I'm throwing a lot of myself into this book as a coach and 36 years of business experience, entirely being self-employed so that people can have right. Sized business strategies, because so much of what we see in the world just isn't meant for our size business or our philosophies. Yeah.
John Jantsch (06:07): I was gonna say, because, because sometimes people equate size with choice or not choice. And I think that the idea here with the self-employed life might be that people are actually, there's an intention about, you know, not just saying, oh, here's what everybody else does. I'm gonna run off and, you know, chase revenue and then have, you know, 10 head count and all that. But then it's actually a decision to, to use this as a tool to give yourself the life that, that you choose.
Jeffrey Shaw (06:32): Right. And you know, it exactly, it is a tool. I mean, for one thing, I've always said every business decision I've ever made has been based on how I wanna live first. Right. I live in Miami now five years, a little over five years, I've been here, complete lifestyle choice, which actually wasn't pre-planned I just came down for three months and never left, you know, but it's, you know, I can, I, I will adapt my business to fit how I want just as I did when I was a single dad for a number of years, you know what I, you, you, you recognize the lifestyle you're gonna live. So it is, it's a tool. What, the other thing I think that's really shifting John, is that there is a huge movement of people that are going into owning their own business. Self-employment in later years, you know, midlife, we could call it and whether it's by choice or by force, you know, now we're looking at the highest unemployment rate we've had since the great depression.
Jeffrey Shaw (07:22): That means the rate of self employment is also going to go up. So, but I also think there's choice. I think there's a lot of people that are sitting in their corporate jobs, getting that steady paycheck, but also feeling like, you know, this is not making the happy. And if we haven't learned in the last year, that time is that life is short. When are you gonna learn it? So I think we have a different level of maturity of people come becoming self-employed. And with that coms, the ability to wanna to integrate your personal life. And that's why I think self-employment is a, is a model. And as a term is so important because it's about giving people control to live their lives and their businesses integrated.
John Jantsch (08:01): Yeah. And it's interesting, the fastest growing segment of, of whatever we call them, self-employed individuals, you know, is 50 plus. And I think that,
Jeffrey Shaw (08:08): And the most successful, right. With the actual statistically, the most successful businesses self-employed are 47 and over. Yeah. And yet we somehow give all the credit to the 20 year olds hustling, but they're not the ones succeeding.
John Jantsch (08:21): Yeah. Yeah. Well, hopefully we've learned a little, you know, in, in that time, but also I think it speaks to, you know, you get, you get whatever you get, your career started, you have a couple kids, you have a mortgage, you know, and all of a sudden, you know, a lot of ways you're making decisions based on those commitments. And I think a lot of people have come to conclusion, Hey, now it's my turn. You know, I'm gonna do my, you know, a man woman or, you know, in between, you know, it's
Jeffrey Shaw (08:44): Yeah. I work harder now than I probably ever did more hours, but because you know, it's the whole work balance, the work cut life balance thing is a complete misnomer. I mean, I don't like the word balance in there. I'll go for midlife. I'll go for work, life integration, but not balance because it's never in balance, but it, it feels okay when you're, when it's your empowered choice. And the fact matter is I work more now than I did when my kids were younger or even at home, I have nobody at home anymore because I can, but when I have kids at home, you know, you, you're trying to make sure you have time for everybody. So I, I don't mind work the longer hours I do now and working harder toward getting this next iteration of my life off the ground, because I've got the power to do it. I've got the freedom to make those decisions.
John Jantsch (09:24): I've been using internal for a long time. So it's that work life rhythm, uh, because you're right. It's never, you know, you're never gonna have the perfect wheel, you know, in balance, but the fact that you are paying attention to what all those elements are that that have to be in rhythm, you know, it does allow you to, cause sometimes you just gotta put, you know, you, you write books, I I've written books. And a lot of times I have to put way too much analysis on, you know, finishing that writing project then I'd like to, but I know that, I know that the other part of the, the rhythm is there and we'll get back in sync.
Jeffrey Shaw (09:55): I, yeah. And I love that use the term rhythm. Cause I think that also reflects the rhythm of life. You know, it, it reflects how at what stage of life that we want to live a certain way and put a certain amount of effort in. So I, I love that.
John Jantsch (10:07): And now word from our sponsor Wix, e-commerce the industry leading e-commerce platform with future ready, customizable, robust solutions for merchants who mean business W's e-commerce is the complete solution for entrepreneurs, omnichannel, retailers, and brands who wish to launch, run and scale their online stores successfully go to wix.com/e-commerce today and join over 700,000 active stores selling worldwide with w e-commerce. So one of the things you started talking about was this amount, amount of personal development that you've done. And I, I really think that, you know, I've been sort of jokingly saying that, you know, owning your own business is one of the best personal development programs ever created. Cause if you don't, you know, it's over,
Jeffrey Shaw (10:54):
John Jantsch (10:56): As you mentioned. I mean, lot of it's just, you gotta figure out, you know, I didn't take any classes on finance or accounting or anything. You've gotta figure a lot of that stuff out. Obviously it doesn't mean you have to do it all, but you have to know enough about it to understand how all of that works in your strategy. So what, what's your approach to personal development? You know, mm-hmm
Jeffrey Shaw (11:18): In coaching. Yeah. Well, to your point, I agree. I mean, I've always said being in business for yourself is, is personal development on steroids. But I look at, first of all, I'm always careful to use the word personal development. Cause I look at this as a forward moving progre, positive progression, not self help, right? It's the self-help as its own category. But you know, I look at it as personal development, how we develop. And I think, you know, for me personally, I, I can honest as in, I've been in business since I was 20 years old, I, I became a professional photographer at 20. I grew up very lower middle class. I went up serving the wealthiest families in, in the country as their family photographer. That is a personal journey story. Unlike one, I could even wrap up in a, in a 20 minute conversation because it's everything.
Jeffrey Shaw (12:02): I mean, it was, it was a constant series of being pushed outside of my comfort zone. I literally became a photographer because it was the most reclusive career I could come up with as it involved a dark room back in the day. And you always had a piece of equipment between me and the world and, and as an innately shy person. And particularly at that point in my life, that was the perfect career. The, the ultimate, you know, the joke of it was though that I was good at it. So next thing I knew I was being thrown into center stage, if you will, literally, even as a speaker, I, uh, to talk about what I was good at. So for me, it is, has undoubtedly been a personal development journey. What I think is really interesting about the personal development component of self-employment is that it comes in both directions.
Jeffrey Shaw (12:47): So on one hand, I look at it as capacity. This is a very big thing for me to big cornerstone, to the book that an anchor of the book, which I is a quote by Jim Rowan, which I say all the time, which is your level of success is rare, will rarely exceed your level of personal development. So I look at it as capacity, the more success you want, the more you have to develop yourself to increase the capacity of what you're capable of, what you can handle and what, what abundance and success is waiting for you. So you have to increase the capacity by constantly developing yourself in the process of doing that and simply being in business. You're also encountering everything at a faster pace. So your buttons are being pushed more often. Your challenges are being put in front of you at a much more rapid pace than if you're punching a clock. So there's personal development coming at you in both directions in one direction, you're leveraging personal development to increase your capacity for success. And on the other hand, your buttons are being pushed to grow at a faster pace than I think any other existence in, in business can offer. So
John Jantsch (13:52): In you're working with small business owners as self-employed folks that you work with, you know, where, where what's the Achilles heel. I mean, where do you see people commonly kind of fall down? They, you know, it's kinda like they get their idea out there. Hey, this is gonna work. And then sort of like phase three,
Jeffrey Shaw (14:08): The wheels come off. Yeah, literally, I, I mean, you know, when my previous book lingo was all about working with your ideal customers and identifying them, attracting them and identifying, and I know immediately I have an ideal customer in front of me or a client in front of me when they, they contact me and they say, one of two things, I'm all over the place, or I'm a hot mess.
Jeffrey Shaw (14:57): We end up feeling like we're pulled in so many different directions that we, we lose the integration of our business. And that is the, the heart of my book. The self-employed life is introducing what I call the self ecosystem. Mm-hmm
John Jantsch (15:53): Just maybe unpack this ecosystem a little more because I, I, I think as I hear, listen to you, describe it, it, it, it's almost like a plan or a strategy for, you know, making
Jeffrey Shaw (16:02): This a holistic journey. Yeah. It's my, my, the advanced readers of the book was amazing. How many of them come back and thought that this was auto autobiographical, which was never my intent. Like, I didn't write a, I wasn't my intention to write a book about me. It was a book in service to the people I care about, which was self ILO business owners. But undoubtedly there's, this is, you know, as I've said to others and I you're, you're a serial author. How many books are you on by the way, number seven, I lost track, oh gosh, I, well, this is number two for me, but I, I aspire to, to hit seven. And, you know, in some ways I wonder if this isn't my legacy book, to be honest with you, because everything is in there. Everything I've learned in 36 years and everything, I've, I'm a masterful observer, if nothing else.
Jeffrey Shaw (16:50): And I think that's the root of why I became a photographer that shy kid watched everybody else around him, became a photographer to observe everybody else. So I, I, if I, I have no, I have no degree from university, but I have a really strong degree of life because I'm a masterful observer. So that's how I run my business. And that's how now I support others, but I've taken all those observations. And my biggest observation in business, particularly for self-employed business owners is that if you think about it, like an ecosystem, just like in nature, if one part of that ecosystem is off, it can destroy the whole thing. Right? Right. If the water temperatures to a warm, the coral reef dies, and that is the primary problems for self-employed business owners. What, what I see most often is they're running like a hamster on a wheel applying a lot of action, because that's what we've been told to do, hustle it out.
Jeffrey Shaw (17:46): Grit grind apply a lot of action. The reason why so many small business owners feel like they're working really hard, but hardly getting ahead is because they haven't done the personal development work to raise the capacity. So they're, they are literally in figuratively hitting their head against the ceiling. They're putting their efforts into a container that's not big enough, even if that container is their own mindset. That, and then on the other side of it, which is also a core problem, is if you've got things rolling is sustainable. Do you have those daily habits, affirmations and clear intentions to keep it going? And if, if not, that's when you start experiencing the ups and downs, like we have these surges of success and we come off a cliff, we have another surgery come off the cliff and we wonder, are we gonna survive the dip?
John Jantsch (18:49): And I, I certainly see that expand and contract all the time with businesses.
Jeffrey Shaw (18:54): So, so what are some of the traits and
John Jantsch (18:55): Habits that you've seen, that, that you can identify that, that you think really serve people trying to do this balance and build this
Jeffrey Shaw (19:01): Ecosystem? Yeah, so, and their habits of sustainability and, and I have for the, the, I have a three month small business code coaching program. And I start off by offering an assessment and everyone shows weakness in the same area, which are these daily habits. And yet everyone also identifies as what they know they need the most, like, I know I should do that. And if I did that, it would help, you know, my, my position in business, but I don't have time for it. Right. So the ones that, that couple that I have found to be really solid one is how one sets their intentions. Now I am, you know, I can get as woo woo. As anybody, but only to the degree it's actually gonna benefit me. I mean, I, I have taken ownership of the hashtag woowoo in your wallet. Sure. Because that's how I feel about it.
Jeffrey Shaw (19:50): Right. I feel I want direct application intentions, work, intentions, work, sciences proof they work. The problem is I think most people go about their intentions incorrectly. And the way I teach intentions is to get very clear on what you want go from and what you want to go to. So I provide my clients, but they, from to format, I want to go from this to that. That's the intention, not mixed up with a bunch of pretty words. And that make it sound a lot more like kumbaya around the fire. Just get that clear. I want to go from this to that. Right. That to, so that's one practice getting very clear in your intentions. I think it is powerful to have one statement of affirmation, right? As our, I think we have a mutual friend BR Mansour, and he speaks to it as speak it into existence.
Jeffrey Shaw (20:38): Right? What's that one thing that you wanna speak into existence. And then lastly, uh, a practice that I, that I show in this book, and it's the only repeated item from the, my previous book, cuz it's that good?
John Jantsch (21:43): That. So, so I wanna touch on one, uh, subject. Uh, sometimes most of times people consider self employed and so they need to be similar, but certainly there are a lot of self-employed people that come, even if it's just managing freelancers, you know, it feels like you have a team or a staff now I, it's probably the, the aspect of business that I hear from most self-employed people is the hardest for them. It's the people it's other people it's it's do I hire people? Do I need to hire people? If I use freelancers, how do I keep them, you know, accountable? I mean, what are, what are some of your, uh, thoughts on self-employed, uh, individuals and the fact that, you know, leveraging the work of others might be the, the true way to success.
Jeffrey Shaw (22:23): Yeah. I, I think there's again, talking about capacity, right? Uh, another way of looking at is when we hit a ceiling in business, we can't go to that next level and be scalable until we hire the people. And in a logical sense, and John, I'd be curious if this is your, be your experience. But I see when a lot of businesses sitting around the 200 to $250,000 gross year and not breaking through it, it almost always seems to be, they, they haven't hired people.
Jeffrey Shaw (23:15): I was prepared to be self-employed I wasn't prepared to be an employer. Right. What I have learned that has helped me a lot is I, I put a lot of effort. I look at it almost as ideal customers, but in this case, ideal coworkers, I put a lot of effort into being on the same page as the people I collaborate with and then leave them alone. I'm a creative by nature as a photographer and nothing creates, kills creativity more than control, trying to control them. Yeah. So I hire really good people and then just leave them alone and trust. I'll tell you why I have something I always said to every single person I've ever worked with is I want them to know first and foremost, there's no gray area with me. I think I'm a hundred percent wrong. Right. I think I'm sure I'm confident.
Jeffrey Shaw (23:59): I'm a hundred percent. Right. But I ain't equally open to being wrong at the same time.
John Jantsch (24:24): Yeah. And I think that one of the things people discover is if you don't give people that freedom, then they just, then they wait for you to tell 'em what to do. And so then you now you're not really delegating
Jeffrey Shaw (24:33): Anything
John Jantsch (24:36): So you also, in addition to the book, uh, which comes out in, uh, may of 20, 21, you also have a summit, uh, that you're going to learn, uh, in, if people are listening to this prior to April 20, 21, at some point to that was going on. You wanna share a little bit about that? Yeah. Or just where people can find out
Jeffrey Shaw (24:51): More about you. Right. And this might be the biggest undertaken I've, I've taken. I was excited about the book, but I'm actually more excited about the summit. And, you know, John, I think a lot of the speakers on the summit are people, you know, there's 10 amazing speakers and many of which I think, you know, and as you know, I, I called probably what might I called in on what might be my one and only favorite card
Jeffrey Shaw (25:34): But then I realized the scores of people that are now unemployed. And I started realizing this cuz of LinkedIn. Like I I've never considered LinkedIn my place being, being self-employed. But to tell you what, every time I share a self-employed on LinkedIn, it goes crazy. And I'm like, oh, okay. I think it's because a lot of people sit there unemployed. So the place to find out about that is, uh, self-employed summit.com. Um, the other tool that we're working on, which I'm really excited about, I think will help anybody starting out is, uh, a self assessment tool. And you can get that at self-assessment dot com, excuse me, self-employed assessment.com. Self-employed assessment.com. And that's a great, it's a discovery tool so that you could know your starting point as to what your strengths and weaknesses are in the ecosystem so that you can then figure out your next action steps. Awesome.
John Jantsch (26:22): Well, Jeffrey, thanks for some by the duct tape marketing podcast. And, uh, hopefully, uh, when we all get back out, down on the road again, we and run into each other in real life.
Jeffrey Shaw (26:30): I hope so. And we look forward to it.
John Jantsch (26:32): All right. That wraps up another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. I wanna thank you so much for tuning in, feel free to share this show, feel free to give us reviews. You know, we love those things. Also, did you know that we had created training, marketing training for your team? If you've got employees, if you've got a staff member that wants to learn a marketing system, how to install that marketing system in your business, check it out. It's called the certified marketing manager program from duct tape marketing. You can find it at ducttapemarketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that tab that says training for your team.
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