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Business News

Here is cold feedback from an entrepreneur who left her day job to pursue her dreams

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Leah Hynes, shares her experience from when she left her successful 10-year career in Public Relations and community engagement in 2013 to launch The Connection Effect.

Leah is a Co-Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at The Connection Effect, – a movement that is driven to put the human back in connection, and the aliveness and energy back into online and in-person communities.


 “I want to share with you 6 things I wish I knew way back when I first decided to take the plunge into self-employment. Life lessons, if you will, from my entrepreneurial journey so far.

“And if you take nothing else from this sharing, I hope that you will agree with me that you are already doing a freaking amazing job!” says Leah Hynes.

1. Slow down to speed up

If I have one regret about my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that I wish I had stayed in my day job until I had at least started to earn an income that could continue to cover our basic expenses.

From day one I hit the ground with the background pressure of ‘make some money and quick!’ which was not at all helpful!

I also left a job that was actually pretty good with people I enjoyed working with and at which I could have easily stuck it out. In hindsight my actions were irresponsible and put my family (and business) under pressure that was ultimately not necessary.

I had an itch about living my passion and at a moment’s notice decided to scratch it! I had bought into the overnight success myth.

My advice: If you can slow down and lengthen out the transition phase from your current job to the new venture (unless your current situation is completely untenable) then it not only helps you make course corrections with the space and perspective to do so, it also allows everyone else around you to adjust — whether that’s just to the idea of you building a business/leaving your day job or to change spending habits/cut expenses.

Slow down now to speed up your potential success later.

2. Passion cannot exist inside of financial stress

When I quit my job with zero safety net and little clue of what this business venture would actually look like, it meant that we could no longer afford to rent our apartment and decided to move into my mother-in-law’s basement with our then 3 year old son. I vividly recall sitting in that basement in front of my computer, staring at the screen and feeling particularly exhausted.

I wasn’t working out, meditating or taking many breaks in-between daycare pick ups because I felt I had no right to relax. After all I was the one who had put my family in this predicament in the first place and so my passion business became this thing that I had to defend and justify — making promises to my husband that any day now I’d be making money and our bank account would be thriving again.

My advice: If you are under financial pressure (and the pressure point will be different for everyone) then it gets pretty hard to enjoy your passion business, as it was for me at times. So what’s the point? If you are stressed ‘living your passion’ you might as well be stressed back at your day job earning a salary. Protect your passion and creativity at all costs, even if it means you dabble on the side for the first few years. Don’t let your passions be tainted or die because they can’t carry the weight of the financial burden, hustle and expectations. What you have to offer the world is too precious.

3. Build a safety net and then don’t touch it!

I hear a lot of people talk about how they built up a safety net before taking the plunge, which is great in theory but then that safety net gets slowly eaten into as their income dives and they dip into that fund to cover expenses. Don’t quit your job and then just watch your safety net dwindle away. The purpose of a safety net is that it remains in place, not that it slowly falls apart leaving you exposed.

My advice: As someone who never even had a safety net (I know…), let alone protected it, I may not be one to talk, nonetheless, my advice is to build up a safety net of 6–8 months of expenses and then start to dabble and experiment and see if anyone is actually prepared to pay you for what you are creating. If you start to think to yourself ‘I’m going to have to dip into my safety net’ then consider that a red flag that you need to generate income some other way while you figure out this entrepreneurial thing.

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4. It’s ok for your passion to remain a side project

For the past four years I fell into the trap of very black and white thinking: either it’s my passion OR a day job. But in reality it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s very possible, and it’s my recommendation, that your passion remains a side project (at least for the first 3–5 years). I certainly got caught up in the whole ‘live off your passion’ sexiness and read story after story of people who had ‘made it’ and thought that it was only right that my passion also be my full-time gig.

But I have since come to realize that:

  • It’s ok for my passions to remain just that and that I personally experience the full joy of the things I love when financial pressure is absent
  • a 9–5 day job is the best option for me personally to earn a competitive salary which in turn allows me to experience more joy partaking in my passionate work on the side (because the financial pressure is off)
  • a day job can actually be something that I enjoy and enables me to contribute to the world, just in a different format, and
  • I can actually earn more as a whole by working a 9–5 while transitioning my passions into a sidehustle business thereby allowing me to enjoy what I love without the financial expectations and sales goals.

My advice: Give yourself permission to enjoy your passion project as a sidehustle for the first 3–5 years, then reassess based on data and feedback you have gathered along the way to decide if the project has legs as a full-time business venture.

5. You must be prepared to sell and hustle

If you do decide that you would like your passion business to earn income, the one thing I wish I had of known was that one of the top skills you must have or learn is sales.

I initially wanted to do all the comfortable stuff: build a website, write content, create social media accounts ect. But I slowly realized that none of that stuff was the 80/20 that would actually propel the business forward financially. I had to sell what we were offering (oh lord!).If you aren’t prepared to have sales conversations, to market yourself, to have prospecting meetings etc, then what you are creating won’t be seen by those who might need it and ulimtately buy it.

Any by the way, no matter how financially successful your products or services become, there is no summit where you are suddenly exempt from selling or hustling. In fact, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are also some of the fiercest and highly converting sales people I know.

My advice: No matter how amazing your creation, be prepared for the fact that it won’t sell itself. That’s your #1 job now and forever — to sell.

6. Dumb luck accounts for a much larger proportion of success than you probably realize

I seriously have no idea what the formula for success is in entrepreneurship and I’ve taken my fair share of courses! I have no idea how some people are able to sustain themselves financially off their passion business while others with equally as good businesses do not.

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I’ve had opportunities and exposure many in my space dream of, like speaking in front of crowds of 1,000+ ideal potential clients and a regular writing spot on a popular personal development blog read by 250K+ subscribers.

And yet still I wasn’t able to come even close to replacing my old salary of four years ago. There could be a multitude of reasons why, but it does leave me to believe that dumb luck must be a factor and perhaps accounts for more of the success than we realize.

There are countless entrepreneurs who have phenomenal ideas, solid foundations, intentions, and natural gifts but who never ‘make it’ because they never experienced enough dumb luck along the way.

And dumb luck unfortunately can’t be fabricated or strategized (lord knows I’ve tried!). You just have to be at the right place at the right time — kind of like that beautiful girl that gets discovered in the mall and becomes a supermodel. Someone has to share your project to an influencer, or you get featured on a prominent platform with a ready-made audience, or perhaps you get invited to deliver a keynote speech or accepted to give a TED talk etc.

My advice: Cut yourself some slack and know that dumb luck may or may not intersect with this particular journey of yours. Let it go, keep showing up, and just enjoy the ride as best you can.

Don’t ‘Go hard or go home’; instead ‘Slow down and sustain’

Despite all of the challenges we entrepreneurs face as we strive to do what we love and despite how exhausting it can be, it’s clear to me that taking this path is simply the best kind of education anyone can ask for.

And not just that, entrepreneurship is the only way we are going to find solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges right now.

We entrepreneurs cannot afford to become exhausted and burnt out.

You are too important. We are too important. Your ideas are too important.

Now more than ever the world needs your unique contribution, it needs your ideas, your alternate thinking and your ability to maintain the pace to bring that contribution, idea and thinking into reality.

I know who you are, courageous entrepreneur. You are doing an amazing job.

This article originally appeared in Lean’s Medium Page.

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    Financial Services

    Ratings agency, Moody’s reveals it is reviewing First Bank’s ratings

    Moody’s explained why it might downgrade First Bank’s ratings.

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    Moody’s Ratings agency said on Thursday that it has put First Bank of Nigeria on review for a downgrade after the central bank sacked the board of directors and replaced them with new directors.

    Moody’s made this statement in a report titled ‘Removal of Non-Executive Board Members Highlights Governance Shortcomings.’

    In a quote, Moody’s said:

    “Moody’s Investors Service, (“Moody’s”) has today placed all long-term ratings and assessments of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (First Bank) on review for downgrade. The review will focus primarily on an assessment of evolving governance considerations at First Bank, specifically corporate governance developments. The rating action follows the dissolution of First Bank’s board by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the bank’s primary regulator, on 29 April 2021. As a result of this action by the CBN, all the non-executive directors were removed while the executive management remained in place.”

    The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had last week announced the sack of the entire board of directors of FBN Holdings Plc and its subsidiary, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd following the initial removal of its MD/CEO Dr Sola Adeduntan. Following his sacking of the board, he set up a new board for the bank holding company and its subsidiary and also reinstated Adeduntan as MD/CEO.

    Moody’s mentioned that the regulatory actions demanded of First Bank by the CBN introduces a clould of uncertainty over the outlook of the bank. For example, the CBN had asked the bank to divest from its holdings in two listed companies while also recovering its loans from one of them.

    “The review for possible downgrade reflects the rating agency’s view that the removal of all non-executive directors of the bank’s board by the regulator demonstrates corporate governance shortcomings and weaknesses in board oversight. The bank also needs to implement regulatory directives concerning the resolutions of loans to, and shareholding in non-banking related parties, which reportedly had not been executed in the recent past.

    Moody’s notes that the outcomes of these developments are uncertain at this point, and the final and long-term governance, reputational and financial implications of the events for First Bank are also unclear.”

    The central bank directive sacking the board of the bank also retained its executive management perhaps suggesting that the CBN had confidence in the ability of the MD and his team to manage the bank. Moody’s also noted this in its briefing.

    “While the bank’s executive management team remained the same, the rating agency believes these developments could distract management’s focus on implementing the bank’s strategic plan and road to recovery. First Bank management’s immediate key target was to reduce nonperforming loans (NPLs) to levels comparable with domestic peers. The rating agency recognises that, in the context of asset risks, the bank took steps to reduce its stock of problem loans, with its reported NPL ratio falling to 7.7% at year-end 2020 from 25.9% in 2018.”

    Will Moody’s downgrade First Bank?

    The rating agency explained that the decision to downgrade will depend on how strong the bank’s corporate governance structure is and whether the CBN will impose additional sanctions. If any of these crystallizes, it could downgrade its ratings.

    “The bank’s long-term deposit ratings can be downgraded if flaws in the bank’s governance systems exist, and if the CBN imposes additional sanctions on the bank, including, but not limited to, conditions to address any vulnerabilities that may be discovered. Financial output that is less than anticipated could also result in a rating downgrade.”

    Moody’s, however, poured water on any optimism around a rating upgrade.

    Given the review for downgrade and the pessimistic outlook on the government of Nigeria, there is a slim chance that First Bank’s ratings will be upgraded. Stronger solvency progress than currently reflected in the ratings, combined with a stabilization of the sovereign outlook, could result in the outlook being stabilized.

    Why is rating important?

    Corporate Organizations desire positive ratings because of the effect it has on their ability to raise capital as well as the cost of capital. A high credit rating typically attracts positive investor sentiments helping organizations tap the debt and equity markets, especially from institutional investors.

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    Spotlight Stories

    Tip Jar, Twitter’s new giveaway feature that lets users send money to you

    Twitter has introduced a new feature called Tip Jar that allows you send money to your favourite tweeters.

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    US Elections: Twitter, Facebook suspend several news accounts

    Twitter has introduced a new feature called Tip Jar that allows you send money to your favourite tweeters.

    According to the blog post, “Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.”

    The new feature utilizes different payment platforms like PayPal, Venmo, Patreon, CashApp, and others.

    Users can link their Twitter accounts with Tip Jar to any of these payment providers. Twitter takes no cut.

    READ: Facebook is creating an audio chat product similar to Clubhouse

    You’ll know an account’s Tip Jar is enabled if you see a Tip Jar icon next to the Follow button on their profile page. Tap the icon, and you’ll see a list of payment services or platforms that the account has enabled. Select whichever payment service or platform you prefer and you’ll be taken off Twitter to the selected app where you can show your support in the amount you choose.

    Twitter has released series of features this year as part of its efforts to grow Twitter’s user base to 315 million daily active users by the end of 2023.

    The company also launched Twitter crop where images don’t get crop again on Twitter for Android or iOS. Standard aspect ratio images (16:9 and 4:3) will now display in full without any cropping and images will look just like they did when you shot them.

    Hotflex

    READ: Does YouTube stand a chance against TikTok?

    Lauren Alexander, a Twitter spokesperson said, “Today’s launch is a direct result of the feedback people shared with us last year that the way our algorithm cropped images wasn’t equitable, The new way of presenting images decreases the platform’s reliance on automatic, machine learning-based image cropping.”

    Twitter has tested several features and more will be rolled out soon.

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