Barbara Corcoran

I didn’t think I could admire Barbara Corcoran more, until I finished listening to a podcast that interviewed her recently. It’s “How I Built This – Barbara Corcoran.” Things that I hope to remember the rest of my life:

1.Know how much time you have left based on the amount of $$$ in your bank account.

Hearing Barbara budget her cost of business based on the salaries of her employees really resonated with me. This is something that I vaguely practice. I know what I have and whether or not I have enough money in my bank to survive another month etc… But something about the way I’m doing it, doesn’t push me enough, while something about how she does it makes me want to do it her way. I’m not sure what the difference is, maybe it’s my personal finance versus her business. It’s probably more of a push for her since she’s got her employees depending on her, while I only have to take care of myself. Because of this knowledge though, as I dive into “self-employment” I think I’m going to look at things this way too. How much time will each of my accounts payable buy my business?

2. Recruit based on potential and then empower your employees.

In the beginning her staff, are people she’s interacted with that she thought had the potential to be a real estate agent. It’s baristas, waitresses, flight attendants that she connected with and empowered to work for her. This is something I want to do. I want to recruit based on people, instead of resume. I think I will need to, in the future if what I’m trying to do is develop an economy where most people didn’t really go to school. I do believe training is a responsibility that good employers take on.

3. After a certain amount, numbers and values don’t seem to mean much.

She put her company in the market expecting 1 Million ish, she got a call from a broker saying somebody made an offer for $23 Million. She rebutted with, “don’t call me back until you get a $66 Million offer” simply because it’s her lucky number. My take away for this is that, after a certain point the value of something is really what you think it’s worth to you. Don’t be scared to negotiate.

Barbara is somebody that I’ve always looked up to, and it was really more because she’s kind but fierce in shark tank. But after listening to her podcast, I respect her so much more because her successes are truly because of her street smart, and her go-getter attitude which is something I always thought I had.

 

Retrospect – Week 1

I think I’ve had this blog for a week! And even with the small change of talking about my finances and lifestyle, already makes me feel like I’m starting to claw my way out of the ground. As I’m thinking about my situation, I have such a long list of goals, plans, ideas, budgets, strategies. But to be completely honest, I don’t think I can fulfill all of them if I tackle each of them at once. Remember how I said I’m going to focus?

So instead of changing my lifestyle drastically in order to keep a budget, I’m going to start with 1 small change each week.

Next week, 3 habits I’m going to build would be:

  1. Save on Mondays
  2. Spend on Fridays
  3. Track Expenses

I think these habits would lead up to being a prioritizing saving over other expenses. Keeping and maintaining a budget, and also knowing where my money goes. It’s steps I need to take to better strategize in the upcoming weeks.

Wish me luck! and keep me accountable guys!
-S

Today was a win!

My past employer was not a good place to work so I quit. I’m not one to use social services provided by my country, but this time I was left with no choice but to claim unemployment. And it was approved. Not only that, the letter actually said that my past job was doing illegal activities and therefore my reason for quitting was a valid one.

I feel bad for telling on them, but at the same time I was way too weak and complicit. I can’t be like that anymore. What was it they say? It’s easy for evil to win, if good guys do nothing? Also, their illegal activities – not paying employees on time – really affected my financial situation! So thank you government for the support. I won’t take advantage I swear. As soon as I have a new job or contract, I will stop my claims. It’s time to untangle that horrible knot that, is my financial life. Today was a win.

Life Lesson: If your employers don’t treat you well, quit. Because the government has your back, especially if it’s something as basic as not paying you on time.

On Self-Employment

I mentioned that I got laid-off/quit because my previous employer never paid me on time right?

That event is big… because I’m in debt and will turn 30 this year. But It’s great because it makes me feel so uncomfortable, I’m pushing myself to the edges. With that said, here’s some quick rants on what I’ve learned so far as I try to be self-employed.

Read your Contracts!
– So many companies use templates from the web, that they fail to change basic info such as location, names etc. This is of course a no-go.
– Negotiate the terms. I’ve been talking to a prospective client for over a month, it seems like it’s going somewhere, but I’ve never in detail told them basics of getting paid. In order to compromise. I’ve accepted the NET-30 payment terms they suggested, but reiterated that I need a deposit before I even start anything.

Big Lesson of the Day:
During the ‘dating phase’ of getting consulting work, make sure to be very clear about your payment terms. Put this in your project proposal! So that when it comes down to signing contracts, there will be less amendments.

Focus

I listened to a great PodCast today: TED Radio Hour – Endure. I didn’t finish it because I got too excited after the first one, which is actually a funny story. Anyways, the first speaker holds the record for completing the trek of hiking from the coasts of Antarctica all the way to the South Pole. What I learned? They were so focused on this task. So much so that when they reached the South Pole, instead of going inside the camp that was there, they just took photos and hiked out right away. See the irony? I learned that focusing is good, and yet I didn’t focus to finish the podcast, instead I’m writing about it immediately… hah

This talk actually really shed some light to my work habits. I’ve always thought that routine creates success and incremental changes leads to big changes once you factor in the time. I know that is true. But I think what I’m lacking in my plan and strategy, is that I’m making incremental changes and building my routine for 600 different goals. Today, I’m restrategizing and will implement focus on those goals.

Instead of taking 15 minutes a day to watch 4 different tutorials for different skills I want to learn (software, coding, foreign languages, business management) it might be more wise to take 1 hour every day to focus on one of those tasks. Similarly, instead of dividing up my day to work on freelancing projects and personal projects, it might be wiser to focus on one project for uninterrupted amount of time each day.

And finally for finance, I should focus on feeling safe. To me that means, having $3000 in my savings account as an Emergency Fund. Having contract jobs lined up for the next 3 months, valued at (10,000). I think I can focus on that, and I think it’s doable to achieve that before the end of the year. Once that’s taken care of, I can start planning how to attack my debt.

Fighting Poverty and Depression

I have a series of frustrations, the big one being personal finance. You see, I’m the extreme case of keeping up with the Jones’ except in my part it was a role that I had to play from the moment I moved to the US and vice versa.

I came from a developing country where my family is comfortable. My father is an immigrant to the US and I didn’t have a relationship with him growing up. He sends money to my mother and as a dollar-earner it has afforded my brothers and I, private education in the best schools in my country along with a housemaid. But we lived in a neighborhood that is just a slight improvement to favelas. My friends in grade school never came over, and we didn’t really hang out, outside of school.

When I moved to the US, those two facts – a housemaid and private schools – left an impression to my middle school friends here that I came from money. 13 year old me who didn’t have any friends here to begin with, thought I’d play along with this narrative in order to get friends. This lie kept going partly to the fact that my father also did not know how to manage money well. He gave my brothers and I an allowance of $50 every 2 weeks. I felt rich with cash in comparison to my cousins and friends back in my native land, and to my middle-school friends. This narrative kept on going for the next 17 years. If you meet me now, you wouldn’t think I was ever poor.

But the truth is, I’ve got over $128,000 in student loans and no savings. I’ve had stock investments before, but I had to use them because I moved out of my father’s house for what I claim was a “mental health reason” but now that I think about it, it was an emotional decision. I talk big in making high-risk high-reward business ideas, but I haven’t had the money to implement any of them. And recently, I lost my job because my place of employment is struggling.

It’s taken me awhile to come to terms to this but I’m ready to attack this debt and financial issue head-on. I know it will take perseverance and a lot of discipline. I’m hoping having a personal blog to keep me accountable and transparent can steer me towards that goal during times when I’m feeling less determined.

Since I’m new to this, I’d love to hear stories and meet people that are also struggling.