What Entrepreneurs Really Get Paid to Do
Pen pal and Rude reader Beau Jon wrote me last week to ask me how I organize my day and my stuff.
As someone who used to have spaghetti brains about everything, there are some things I can share with confidence and some things that still need work.
The Big Picture
When first reading about Austrian Economics, one thing jumped out at me: they seemed like the only economists who ever acknowledged the entrepreneur’s place in the economy, let alone celebrated him with the respect he deserves.
Ludwig von Mises, the Dean of the School described entrepreneurship as judgmental decision-making under uncertainty.
It’s a bit dry, but Mises was an Austrian who wrote in English like a German.
Far better, this sentence changed the way I look at life:
“Entrepreneurs don’t get paid to own capital, they get paid to organize capital.”
This one sentence encapsulates everything you need to know. The “gurus” say you need to change to become a business owner.
I think they keep everything vague so you buy more of their products.
The change they really mean, in simple terms, is “get your shit together.”
Sure, you’ll hear the leftists claim that trust fund babies and landlords don’t organize anything and still make money.
But that’s garbage. Trust fund babies hire private bankers to organize things and landlords either do the plumbing themselves or hire someone.
Either way, it’s organization.
Mac or PC?
As Deion Sanders once said to Jerry Jones in that Pizza Hut commercial, “Both, Boss.”
I use a Mac for my personal and creative work. I use a PC for my professional work. Both are saved on iCloud, Microsoft Drive, and/or Google Docs, depending on the subject matter.
I have a makeshift standing desk for teaching and typing. Thanks to supply chain woes and the ridiculous overpricing of goods sent to the Philippines, I’m lucky an old end table fits the bill.
When we get to the forever house, I’ll buy a proper electric standing desk.
Also, though my MacBook Pro has served me faithfully since 2014, I’ll be switching to the M1 Mac Mini as soon as it arrives. I wrote about it here. It’s worth noting that I only went with the 256GB version and bought a dock with an additional 1 TB hard drive instead.
Having lived in the US, UK, Singapore, Spain (for a wee bit), Hong Kong, and now the Philippines, you can imagine how many accounts I have.
It’s all done from the iPhone.
I use Wise (formerly TransferWise) to transfer money from account to account as I don’t get hit so hard on the FX rates.
FreshBooks is my invoicing system. It costs about $30 per month, but I like how it organizes my clients and invoices.
For credit cards, I use a Visa and an American Express Platinum card. I know AMEX has an annual fee, but what I get in return far exceeds it. Well, in years I travel anyway. It also gets me lounge access if I’m not flying business class.
As I’m no longer an American citizen, I can and do use Binance.
It’s got the one thing I really need when it comes to buying and selling crypto: it’s easy.
In fact, I think it’s easier than Coinbase and Kraken. But if you’re still a Yank, use what you can.
With all the madness going on, I can’t encourage you enough to explore this area and look at ways of hedging your risk.
And do remember your codes, as getting back in after you log out can be a pain, useful though that is against crypto crooks.
Again, I control this account from my phone almost exclusively.
Email and Organizing My Calendar
I wish I had some super-secret, secure system, but I use Outlook.
In fact, I wouldn’t be able to tie my shoes without Outlook. It’s my Pepper Potts.
It’s actually more important for me as a meeting planner than anything else. My email accounts feed into Outlook from other services. That’s a nice feature, by the way.
I teach using Zoom, Webex, or Adobe Connect. I also use Microsoft Teams on occasion for meetings. All are fine, though each has its nuances.
The important thing is to be able to communicate as normally as possible. That’s why I like my standup desk.
I stand up when I have these meetings. It enables me to act as naturally as possible, speaking with Italian hand signals when necessary.
When teaching, this keeps the class fresher than just sitting there reading slides. It helps me break into spontaneous stories and liven up the class. It at least puts off Death by PowerPoint for a while.
When I’m meeting with my good friends for a Pint by FaceTime I’ll sit down and do that from my Mac, as it’s as close as we can get to a beer together.
Lawyers and Accountants
As long as you’re keeping track of your invoices and payments, this is a snap.
Our accountants are in Hong Kong, but this doesn’t hinder our ability to do business at all. Just send them what they need and it’s done.
I’ve used these a few times, but need to get better at it.
We don’t employ a regular one, but that may change soon.
Interestingly, when Finlingo, my software company, needed an EIN in order to get into the App Store, we used a VA. She had the job done in 6 hours and we paid her $20. Genius.
Now that’s using a VA properly to eliminate problems!
Where did I find her? On Fiverr.
Here’s one of my biggest mistakes as a budding entrepreneur: trying to learn how to do everything myself.
I took coding courses, video courses, media buying courses…
What a waste of money!
If you can, hire people to do this for you.
Since you won’t have too much money to start, go to Fiverr and give some kid a shot. Not out of charity. But because most 15-year-olds are better at supplementary business skills like video, audio, and graphic design than 45-year-olds who are building businesses are.
So get your crowbar out, break open your wallet, and start delegating tasks to experts who can help you.
I’m pretty sure that’s everything. But if you have any questions, please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Have a great day!
All the best,
P.S. I erroneously wrote in the body copy yesterday that PLTR bought $50 billion in gold bars. It’s $50 million in gold bars. Must remember that millions, billions, and trillions are different numbers, even with all the inflation going on! Thanks for your forgiveness.