Get into #Bossmode | MAKERS Money
In the final episode of #MAKERSMoney Season 1, host Sallie Krawcheck discusses the critical process of growing your side hustle and network while starting your own business. “I’m Judging You” author and entrepreneur Luvvie Ajayi guest stars. MAKERS Money is produced by MAKERS and Yahoo Finance in partnership with Ellevest.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Money is power. And ladies, it's time to level the playing field.
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SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to MAKERS Money. I'm Sallie Krawcheck, CEO of Ellevest, the digital investing platform for women. So you've had a new business idea brewing for a while, but you're not quite sure if it's time to make the leap to becoming an entrepreneur.
But Sallie, my career crystal ball says I'm not going to start my own business.
Listen up! Developing an entrepreneurial mindset will benefit you no matter where your career takes you. Now, I get both sides of this equation because I worked at big companies for more years than I'm going to share with you before starting Ellevest from dirt. And I hear from people all the time who want to start their own businesses, which I love because it can be so energizing, and interesting, and exciting. But it can also be really challenging. Timing matters, team matters, luck matters. So don't take the leap unless you have an idea you're passionate, and I mean passionate with a capital P, about.
Two things. Number one, start a side hustle. It's smart to start exploring a passion this way because first, you're going to learn about whether your idea's any good. And if you can actually make any money from it. Second, every new business idea needs some trial and error. Believe you me, you wouldn't believe what we went through at Ellevest. So don't give your notice until you know your idea's ready, by giving it a test drive.
The second thing I want you to do: network, network, network. Network, network. And I know what you're thinking, network is fumbling for business cards, and forced conversations, and 18 holes of golf. And it's what the old white guys do. But it's truly the number one unwritten rule of success in business. So make it a habit to reach out to one person, every day. No big deal. It can be casual. And get together with one person outside of your company every week. Or join a professional network. Make networking part of your success equation.
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And joining us today is Luvvie Ajayi, the entrepreneur and author of the New York Times best seller, "I'm Judging You." What a title!
LUVVIE AJAYI: You love it.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Luvvie, I love it. Thank you for being here. Cheers!
LUVVIE AJAYI: Thank you for having me.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: You know, we've got something in common.
LUVVIE AJAYI: What's that?
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: It is the fact that we were both, I think you say you were laid off, I was fired, before we became entrepreneurs.
LUVVIE AJAYI: Right.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Did you have what you thought was a writing hobby, then turned it into a career? How do you advise people who want to do that? To make that transition.
LUVVIE AJAYI: At that point, I'd been blogging for seven years. And I was like, well OK, I need to find a new job. But while I look for a new job, I'll keep doing marketing consulting, and keep blogging. But I never got a chance to get a new job.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: That's great. But did it really bring you down to get laid off?
LUVVIE AJAYI: You know, I actually found a piece that I wrote on the blog the day that I got laid off that said, it feels like the universe is pushing me to take the leap of faith I wasn't going to take myself.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: You know, it's funny you say that. Because after I got fired, even the next day when I was drinking alone by myself in my home,
There was still part of me that said, this is going to be the best thing that ever happened to me, I just don't know how yet.
LUVVIE AJAYI: Yeah I think I knew that too. I fought it tooth and nails. Because for me writing wasn't a career that felt tangible, because you know, there's a J.K. Rowlings who are writers. There's a Toni Morrison.
And I was like, I'm neither one of them. But I think after a couple of years I was like, OK you're finding yourself in rooms where outlets like the BBC, and CNN are in. And here you are, as Awesomely Luvvie in these same rooms, you're a writer.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: And you've had some amazing experiences. You interviewed Oprah.
LUVVIE AJAYI: Yes.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Shonda Rhimes blurb-ed your frigging book.
LUVVIE AJAYI: You know, the OWN team called me and said, hey, we'd love for you to come and interview Oprah, while holding an OWN mic, on our lot. And I was like, what? How do you say no to that?
And when Shonda Rhimes knew my book was coming out, she was like, I need you to send it to me.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: And then your TED Women talk went supernova, almost immediately. It was "Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable."
LUVVIE AJAYI: Yes
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: I think there you talked about the first domino. What does it mean to be the first domino?
LUVVIE AJAYI: I think it comes down to doing the things that are uncomfortable and difficult, in the moment that's difficult. So when we're in rooms where somebody who's less powerful than us is been disrespected for example, it is our job to actually speak up and say, that's not OK. So we need to disrupt power systems, and conversations, and rooms, just to make sure that we are standing up for people who might not have the power to.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Hear, here! I call them the courageous conversations.
LUVVIE AJAYI: Like, come on!
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Here, here.
LUVVIE AJAYI: We need more of it.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: We need a lot more of those.
LUVVIE AJAYI: Yeah.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: OK, we ask everybody this question, what's the stupidest thing you've ever done with your money? What's the smartest thing you've ever done with your money?
LUVVIE AJAYI: The stupidest thing I've ever done with my money is like, kept in a savings account. That was the stupidest thing.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: And so, you lose money everyday, essentially. Right?
LUVVIE AJAYI: I'm essentially losing money. Yeah, yeah.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Is it still in a savings account?
LUVVIE AJAYI: No!
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: Oh, good.
LUVVIE AJAYI: God, no. I can't come in front of you and be like, yes Sallie, I still have all my stuff sitting in a savings account. I'd be so ashamed. I'd be like, no. I don't deserve I don't deserve to be here.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: So what's the smartest thing you've done with your money? Take it out of a savings account?
LUVVIE AJAYI: Buying my first place, in a growing area in Chicago.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: And you live in it, and you love it, and you enjoy it.
Thank you for being here with us, such a pleasure.
LUVVIE AJAYI: You are amazing, I can't say no to Sallie.
You got to be here.
SALLIE KRAWCHECK: OK, now let's get to some questions from all of you. Our first question asked, I keep reading the news about how little venture capital funding women get. Why the F is that? And do you think it will change?
I mean, tell me about it. The bad news first, we women have gotten so little funding, just 2 or 2 and 1/2 percent of the total, because of systemic bias. The venture capital firms are made up primarily of white men, whose networks tend to be made up of white men, who thus listen to pitches from white men. Nothing against white men, I just hate that they get most of the money.
Now let's be clear, it's not because men are better entrepreneurs than women. A study from First Round Capital showed that businesses with at least one woman co-founder, performed 63%, 63% better than male-only. The good news is, an increasing number of VCs get that investing in women entrepreneurs is a great opportunity.
OK, here's our second question. Do you have any tips for funding my business without raising money from venture capitalists? The truth, guys, is only 1% of businesses are venture-capital funded. Most businesses are funded with personal savings, loans from family, friends, and increasingly, and excitingly, crowdfunding. And here's the really interesting news, we women are consistently outperforming the men on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, because we're better storytellers. Even better, not only can you raise money this way, but it can also be a really good way to test your product's appeal and pick up early customers. In case you can't tell, I'm a huge fan.
All right, third question. Should I get a co-founder? And if so, what qualities should I look for? Yes! Yes, you should get a co-founder. Because the research shows that start-ups with more than one founder, are more likely, quite a bit more likely, to succeed. And my advice here, is to find someone who is as different from you as you possibly can. And here's why, you're not perfect. Newsflash: you're not perfect. And so you're going to have blind spots. Having someone who thinks differently than you, means you have a much better chance of avoiding a fatal flaw, and seeing around corners.
Now whether you decide to be your own boss or not, learning to think like an entrepreneur will pay dividends in the long run. Learning how to take calculated risks, stand in your own worth, and hone what you're good at, are key building blocks for long-term success. And if you do decide to start your own business, do it with some money in the bank, and go get 'em!
We want to hear from you. Tweet to us at @makerswomen and use the hashtag #makersmoney. Or send your questions in to makers.com/makersmoney.
Thanks to Luvvie Ajayi for joining us. She was amazing. And until next time, remember: more money, more power.