5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Take Control of Their Financial Futures in 2022
Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to visit Soledad O’Brien, former CNN and NBC anchor, business owner and most recently co-host with Jean Chatzky of a new radio show and Edelman Financial Engines podcast titled daily wealth. The show addresses the crossroads of financial decisions and their effects on our lives. It promises conversations on the most important personal finance topics, according to a pre-launch announcement: longevity, retirement security, exponential technologies, digital assets, health and wellness.
After his tenure at CNN and NBC, O’Brien started a production company in Manhattan, Soledad O’Brien Productions (SO’B), to create documentaries.
Here are O’Brien’s five most important tips for entrepreneurs.
1. During a crisis, money and values must remain linked
O’Brien: Someone gave me some helpful tips during Hurricane Katrina. “In an emergency, let your values guide you.” This means that the main thing to worry about is, “What do you believe in?” That’s what we did [when the pandemic struck]. We put our people first and told everyone, “We’re not going to fire anyone. We have no idea what will happen. Most of our offices have been closed for two years. When you pay real estate prices in New York, it’s staggering, but we put our people first, and I feel really good about that. Luckily, at this point, we’ve become busier than ever and are producing a ton of work. We made sure everyone working was safe. We kept them employed and made sure their concerns and anxieties were heard and acknowledged.
Related: The 8 Values Every Business Should Respect
2. The right time to become an entrepreneur is sooner than you think. Get ready now.
O’Brien: I think we sometimes think of entrepreneurship as an old person’s talk. In my case, I started having this discussion when I was 48, but I should have had this conversation many years before. I was 40 when I left CNN with a huge desire to start a production company, but I didn’t really have a plan. I was lucky. I had been well paid. I had amazing people running production companies that helped me in every way. We were profitable right away, but the learning curve was steep. The first year and a half was very difficult. My biggest advice is that if you want to be an entrepreneur, make the plans and start the conversations much earlier. How do you plan to finance it? How do you use the money you earn for the life you want to lead? You should be focusing much more on those big conversations much earlier than we traditionally do.
3. You’ll know you’re running your business well when you can say “No”
O’Brien: I think when you’re starting out, you’re so interested in finding business, you say yes to everything, and it can take way too much of your resources and time. One of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that you get to choose who you work with. So enjoy it and really work through the process to figure out “What do I really want to do?” This is a challenge for many start-up companies. Someone told me this, and I found it to be really true: “You’ll know you’re running your business well when you know what to say ‘no’ to.”
Related: You’re Made By The People You Say “No” To
4. Some of the biggest money issues right now are potentially not what you think
O’Brien: I became very interested in educating people on financial planning issues because of the things I saw and learned. For example, my parents died before Covid. They were both foreigners to this country, with six children. They put us all in college, some in medical school and some in law school. They bought a house and saved for their retirement. But I didn’t realize until much too late that they hadn’t really thought or talked about end of life. They ended up in apartments where you couldn’t get a caregiver… I won’t take all the blame because I have five siblings, but they were like “We took care of it”, and they really hadn’t manipulated him.
Early on, it’s time to have very specific and difficult conversations about “What’s the financial plan?” “Where are you going to live, literally, concretely and concretely? “How do you see this unfolding?” I very much regret this because it was difficult and stressful and often very messy – issues such as if you need a nursing assistant for night care, where will that person stay? It’s also about accessing parents’ bank accounts to help them with functions like paying their bills – when people are overwhelmed, they can just stop paying their bills.
Related: 7 Financial Planning Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep
5. The guiding principle on wealth is that it is about much more than money
O’Brien: Wealth is not just money. It’s more than that – it’s about the values, goals and dreams we have for our lives. It’s a visceral connection to financial stability and the financial needs of what people really want to do.
O’Brien’s last point, in particular, leads to a range of additional questions and answers. But right now, she says, it’s time to pull back the curtain and let the conversations begin.