All right, Stephanie. We are here. This is the the Rosie Talks. I think I think it's time to get started. I think Facebook is blasting us to the rest of the world. So why don't you take it away? Well, welcome everybody to this edition of Rosie talks, think TED Talks, but way better. And just focused on entrepreneurship, small business ownership, launching and growing, scaling, exiting anything and everything to do with small business ownership. For our active duty veteran and military spouse community. That is what we are going to be jumping into today.
Before I begin, I just want to say you know, they my team goes, Hey, let's do this. Ask Stephanie anything business. And I was kind of shocked by the sheer scope and number of questions that we got in and my first response was, Holy moly. A, we're not going to have time to answer all these questions be some of these. I don't, I can't even answer I'm going to have to reach out to some experts. And so I think what what Chris and I did who I'm gonna be I'm gonna let him introduce himself in a minute. But what Chris and I did was we kind of went through them and chose some questions. But if you're listening to us live on Facebook, please post questions below and we'll do our best to get to them. So I'm Stephanie Brown. I am a longtime military spouse. I am a serial entrepreneur. I'm the CEO and founder of the Rosi network and CEO and co founder of the US military spouse Chamber of Commerce, I live breathe, eat, live, breathe, eat, sleep and dream entrepreneurship. So I am here with my good buddy Chris McPhee, otherwise known to those who who love him as Smurf. Smurf. Please introduce yourself?
Oh, we can't hear you. Oh, thank you so much. I know right? I was like, make sure you hit that before you started talking. But everybody and Stephanie, thank you for having me today to be sitting next to you to share someone I was asked you some questions about entrepreneurship, but everybody to the Rosie network, community and alumni chapters and those of you who are just making your way across the bridge, and those of you who are curious about the Rosi network, I'm Chris McPhee. I am that chapter lead here in the Fort Hood region. And I'm retired military, and I'm also a military spouse, myself, entrepreneur, owner of greenbrae media, and also a co founder of triple nickel apero. So today, we have a treat for you, especially those folks that are just starting out with their business and you just have some questions and you need some insight from a seasoned entrepreneur that's just going to give it to you straight with no chaser and give you value and have something to take away to help you move along your journey. So let me know when you're ready, Stephanie because we
Yang. Oh wait, wait, I know that my team will actually start texting me and sending me unhappy faces. If I don't cover some really quick housekeeping. You guys. Hey, this is our fifth year. And Chris you know this this is our fifth year hosting of the national veteran and military spouse entrepreneur awards. nominations are open now through the end of the month. If you are a business owner, I don't care how small if you're new we have startup categories with I think 10 or 11 categories. Our members got featured in veterans magazine last year in other areas so it takes a few minutes to nominate get on our website. The link will be posted below nominate yourself or somebody else please help us celebrate the their contributions and amazing work that these entrepreneurs are doing. Service to CEO is our free program with Chris is one of our leads. He's also a graduate so applications are open now and throughout the year you can't you will not be wasting your time I promise you. We also military Entrepreneur Magazine. We are working on our holiday buying guide right now it will be shared and posted not only in our magazine, but also in military families magazine. And man if you haven't heard about the stuff that we're doing with ABS which for for you non Army Air Force folks out there like me, maybe
it's ABC or otherwise known as the exchange is you know, they are located everywhere. Right. And we have we have ruled out some amazing things with ACS for our military business owners. I'll be in Charleston, South Carolina, on the
28th I think of this month Sorry, I can never remember these things. So if you were in that area and you want to showcase your business veteran or military spouse got a product or service you want to sell, please, please, please visit our website, email us at contact at the Rosie network 20th 28th of this month, um, Charleston Air Force Base, ACS is rolling out the red carpet. So get involved. So housekeeping done, Chris, I'm ready. I'm ready. Ready? Ready. So so we're gonna, we're gonna start you off a little slow.
That's my speed, man. You know, what they say? Is specops. Right? Slow is fast. Yeah, there
we go. We're gonna start you off a little slow. We could sign this thing out. But your first question has has to do with business coaching and mentorship? And how much time should we spend in those areas? Like, you know, do you? Do you have a business coach? And how much time do you invest in being mentor?
Yeah, well, this is a great question. And I know we preach it all the time. Right? This is being an entrepreneur, it can be lonely, it can be frustrating. It can be, you know, all those. I mean, if we're here, we're going to talk real here, right is not all even real public. Exactly. Not all puppies and kittens, people
or unicorns, as they say. So, really, building a team, building a team is critical. And everybody and everybody says, Why can't afford to hire a team? Well, a team isn't necessarily employees, a team are, you know, can be friends, trusted friends, it can be advisors, it can be mentors, it can be a coach, you know, it has to be people that you can trust to be real with you. It's not, you know, not one of those when you ask your spouse, honey, does this dress make me look
It has to be people that are going to be that are going to tell you the truth. And then you take that and do with it what you will. But you know, there is a difference between a coach and a mentor. First of all, I mean, we sometimes we get them confused, they are similar, but there is a difference. Usually a coach has specific, um, you know, there is like a contract, oftentimes a coach can be somebody pay mentors or not, you know, often paid. So a coach has a specific set of goals that the two of you, you know, identify ahead of time. And there's usually a timeline, right? It's not always or necessarily ongoing forever, where as a mentor, you can spend many, many, many hours and years working alongside. I absolutely have a mentor I in fact, I wouldn't be here right now, and Rosie wouldn't be doing and is and having scaled like it has without a mentor. Let's just be, you know, perfectly honest. I don't have all the answers. I've made some amazing decisions, I've made some really bad decisions. Raise your hand if you can, if you can understand that. And really, you have a mentor and a coach, and you can look up what the differences and decide which one applies and fits best for you. But I have I always surround myself with people that are smarter than me, first of all right, Chris? I mean, if it's you just have a bunch of mini me's around you or people that you know are Yes, little Yes, people or folks that don't bring a real serious, you know, talent or skill to the table that you may be missing, then then, you know, you're not doing yourself or your business any favors. So everybody on my team is smarter than me in one shape, one way shape or another. They're all they're all younger than me. So let's just get that out there. Um, but it having having a mentor for me has, you know, look, it's like a lifeline. It's like, an invested person in what Rosie is doing and what I'm doing and want to accomplish. And I know that when I have a challenge or an opportunity, I can turn to them and go, you know, one of my mentors is named Lynn. And another one. I don't have just one because, you know, it's like potato chips, you know, you can never have just one. So I call them up and I go, hey, I've got this opportunity. You know, what do you think? I always share those with my team too, but oftentimes, I'll bounce it off my mentor. And then if I have a if I have a challenge and you know, especially With COVID, and the year before that we had a couple of whoppers, we had a couple of like, you know, like, we had just run headfirst into a brick wall kind of challenges. And if it hadn't been for, you know, my mentors, and some of those are now part of my board of advisors, you know, it would have been could have been tragic. So, how much time it totally depends on you and what you want to get out of it. Right, Chris? Have you ever had a mentor or coach?
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I, I thrive off of mentorship. I'm like you if you are paying for some type of guidance, that's a coach in my book. Yes, I think mentor should be genuine relationship, somebody who knows you and really could give you a real assessment of where you should be heading next. And they know what you've done. So those develop over years, and I'm glad you said like having one or two, like, do you have just one? You know, how many should we have? And like, Where should we decide, hey, I need a coach, or I need to take this to my mentor. So that's part two of this discussion about coaching mentorship.
I Yeah, I agree. And you, there is no rule that says you can only have one. So you know, like, I have a coach, that's also an attorney. I mean, a mentor, that's also an attorney. So he's he's normally my guy that, you know, I'll turn to if it's a legal issue, for example, right? So absolutely, it is all of those folks become tools in your tool box, and use them Don't abuse them. I will say that part, when I first started this, one of the greatest joys of my life, was having the time to meet folks like Chris spend time with folks, I you know, and and others going through our program and entrepreneurs all over. And then what happened is, and what will happen to you, as you grow your business, you have less and less of that time available. And that was one of the reasons why, you know, when they said, hey, let's do Rosie talks, and you can and I thought, wow, this is a great way for me to share, hopefully some valuable information, that I don't have the time to do one on one anymore. I mean, that's the one thing I really miss. But anyway, so hopefully we've answered that,
I think I think we crushed the crash. If you have any additional questions about mentors, or coaches definitely put in the chat. And we're going to transition to our next question. And this is actually interesting to me, because I don't have a clue about when it comes to fine art in that industry. So this question comes from somebody I believe, is either in business to sell in fine art, or thinking about selling fine art. And part of that is, how do I mark market it? Like if I'm selling fine art? How would I go about what might be some high level processes we can take to start marketing fine art.
And you know, one of the reasons why we selected this question was via somebody, I'm going to share a few specific pieces of information that does apply to art and fine art. But overall, this is a question every entrepreneur should be asking themselves, right? Where do I market or sell my product or service? And really, first and foremost, and Chris, feel free to correct me jump in. But I say one of the first first things you have to do before you start looking where you're going to sell or market your business. And this includes social media, far too many people go, I've got the greatest widget in the world, and I just need to market if I could just market it. And they dump a ton of money into marketing, and hiring people and paying for ads when they haven't even determined who the heck their customers are. Where do your customers shop? Right? Are they? Are they Amazon? Are they Walmart? Are they Tiffany's? Are they? Are they you know, older, younger? You know, you have to find out who your customer is. And believe me, not everybody is your customer. And that's okay. So know who your customer is. Where do they shop? How much do they spend? Are they a $5,000 ticket item when it comes to fine art or up? Or are they a $50 ticket item? Right? Are they looking for print? So first and foremost, you got to know that before you even start down any path of selling, and then so back to fine art first. First of all, having a website for any business is key and look even folks like me who I mean I consider myself tech challenged to the extreme. You know, I grew up we didn't have internet. We didn't have cell phones. We didn't have any of that stuff. Right. We worked off encyclopedias for the internet young No one encyclopedia is googling. So you know, that might be before the internet. Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. Um, in fact, we're running a kid's military kids entrepreneur camp summer camp right now. And I all of those kids are all smarter than me on tech. So anyhow, but having a website to basically there are tools out there right now that even Tech Challenge folks can create a website and your website doesn't have to be super complicated. So if you're selling a product or service 99% of consumers out there, potential clients look you up on the internet. So if you don't have a fit, if you don't have a website, there's really no no reason not to don't you don't and shouldn't be just relying on Facebook, or Instagram to sell your products and services. Both of those are great venues to do it, if that's where your customers are. But you should have a website. And again, it doesn't have to be complicated. If you're first of all, you got to have great photos of your art, right, Chris, you the camera, the camera guy. You got to have great photographs, you know, you ought to be perusing other websites and other marketplaces that are selling your products or similar type products and services. And again, this goes to all you guys. If you don't have if you don't have the money to pay for a photographer or build a website, then consider bartering. I see this happening in the Rosi network all the time, right, we'll have a IT guy that's got a certain skill set, and he doesn't know anything about graphic design or logo developed, you know, branding, and they'll often collaborate with each other and help each other out. So don't forget, that can always be you know, be an option for for for paying for stuff. So top sites that I found, and I reached out to a couple of, you know, fine art fine artists, and I would never consider myself you know, a pro what's considered fine art. But x cart is really the top site that that I came across and it was recommended to me, x cart and all those links will be posted below. I'm really for selling fine art. And there was a $500 one time fee, you can you know, they have all it's highly customizable. There's a free trial, which I love, you know, jump into free trials whenever possible before you bite the bullet. There are no monthly charges like Shopify or bigcommerce. So check that out. Instagram surprisingly, Instagram has well they have shopping tools, which we know but apparently there is a big big
community of artists on Instagram which I had no idea and the same goes for Twitter and these are these are some art pros that you know sit gave me these two pieces of advice, Instagram and Twitter. There's a big very engaged very supportive art community. On Twitter again, see it's knowing your community. And then art pal our pal is great for artists starting out so depending on where this person is in their journey art pals are great places there's no membership fees, no commission, super easy to set up, they offer a print on demand, print on demand service, which is where they make their money. Lastly, there if you're an established art artist and your price points are 5000 and up, then the absolute best one is to tachi art, that's s a t ch II art, it's International, they get almost 2 million visitors a month. Again, the link will be listed below. The only downside to them is that you basically walk away with 65% of your sales price, but they they have you know BAM visitors that said a lot of folks shop there. So Wow, that was a lot of info again. Just this person
I want to I have I'm pick your brain on something, I'm x you give us a couple, two, three, it's a dark place in there to get your flashlight. But this is one of the I think this is one I want. I want to give a big shout out to Alex Alex waters for doing this because he showed up to do that for my class and customer discovery. And I loved his presentation and the way he presented it. Yeah. What would be probably two or three tips you can give to a startup entrepreneur. This is a very niche. Yeah, fine art is not like everybody's not fun, you know, especially if you're spending 10 $20,000 on art or wherever that bar start. But what are like a couple, two to three, you know, Hey, leave with this and you should be on your way.
You mean as far as customer discovery Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah. Firstly, I agree, Alex is phenomenal. And back when we were teaching classes in person, it was great because Alex is local here in San Diego. And I know I've sat in on one of his classes, and now he does it for us virtually. Well, Chris, I'm gonna turn the tables and ask you what was what was one of the things that he told you? Do you remember?
No, that is a good thing. So I would say one of the really, the realest things he said, and that's what any product, especially something like this is that you have to, when you're searching for that customer, you have to go to people that are going to give you honest feedback. And he said, don't go to don't go to your spouse, don't go to your family or friends. Right? Because we know the mentality of that they want to make sure that we win. So we might not get the feedback that we're looking for. And then it we might take it a little bit of personal. So that's one thing I know for sure. That he put out in his class. Yeah, and definitely, the other thing was, if you're starting out, go to that process of actually meeting with people and an X in those questions and getting that that market data, the C's like it, is there anybody out there who really wants this? In and out, and that's what it is? One, if you're like, you got to go look for the person that want this versus saying, Hey, I got this, who wants it? I got 30 of them, like who wants? It should be the other way? Like, oh, you need you need? Okay, cool. Here's one for you. And that lets us know, but those are the two things I would say is go to people and get good feedback on the customer you're trying to connect with and take the time to do the market data? Because I know I've jumped that step a couple of times myself, figuring out does somebody need this, you know, right before interest.
And a lot of this data is available online. So let's say let's say I have an office supply company, and I've developed a line of office supplies, let's just say and you know, you can do you can find out how big is the market? Right? What is the total office supplies spend all across the board, you know, that information you can find online through through multiple services and none of them you got to pay for Okay, so don't get sucked into that. And then you want to narrow that down because you're not trying to you know, what part of that market is yours. Right? What part of that market are you trying to get into? So let's say it's, you know, custom desktop items, like custom matching pencil holders, and, you know, I don't know I'm not very good at making this stuff in my head, but you know what I'm saying? So custom items that you know, and the price point, go and find what that market total is right? So if that's you know, let's say $5 billion a year and the high end, then you know, narrowed down further find find other businesses that are in your space. So if that's your space or photographer, fine artist or videographer then find other businesses that are in your space. I do this I did this when I started before I started Rosie's list. I went on Craigslist and Angie's List, which is why how I came up with the name, Rosie's list. And you know, because Rosie representing right? Um, I was ready to launch thinking I knew everything. I had checked out Rosie's I did a market analysis on even et CIE, I checked, you know, all this. And I had a really wise mentor say to me, Stephanie, but you know, how do you know because I had two customers. One were the businesses selling their products or services on roses list. And then the other was the American consumer. So I had to do the research on who what consumers are going to be drawn to buying from veterans and spouses, right? And then what do those veterans and spouses want? If I say, Hey, I'm going to give you a free profile page on this free database that consumers can search for free. I, you know, what do you want? What What do you need in that? And I didn't want to wait, I didn't because I'm an I'm an entrepreneur. I was like, ready to go out the front door at 500 miles an hour? And my mentor said, No, do focus groups do interviews, right. And that's what serves the CEO in this plan that class makes you do. And so I said, Okay, I'll do focus groups and interviews. And I'm glad I did because the end product would have been very good. It turned out very different than what I envisioned in the beginning because I listened to the people we were building it for, and they said I want this and I want the testimonials and I will Want a photo gallery and I and that's what we we built. So you're absolutely right. Talk to the people that you deem are your customers and avoid those. They don't want to hurt your feelings. To go out. Yeah, avoid those people hold the focus group, you know, do and you can entice them. You can say, if you're willing to give me 30 minutes of your time and answer these questions, I'll give you 20% off my, you know, my widget. I mean, there's ways to bring them in. Okay. Anyway. So hopefully, we got we got some valuable info there. That's that's a big issue. customer discovery is step number one you got, if you don't have a customer? What do you got?
He that's the only what you got to move product to make money, right? You got to do so. So here we go. This one is about this question is coming from more of the admin room of an entrepreneur and your business. And this question is directed and speaks about getting certified as a veteran and woman owned business? Is their ongoing were normal process for that for the certification?
Yeah, great question. So really quickly. Um, so if you're a veteran service disabled veteran minority owned or operating a business in a HUBZone Yeah, you can get certified and the, the really the advantage of getting certified is if you are looking to do b2b and b2c G b2b is business to business. And then bt G's business to government. Government can be your local state, you know, because they have a lot of contracts and and set aside that is, you know, targeted just for the, you know, veteran service disabled veteran and minority or disadvantaged own businesses right, there is set aside for that. And they are always almost always struggling to find enough businesses to purchase from. So it is a market. b2c is a much bigger market and big selling to other businesses is a bigger market than selling to the government. But don't you know, there are a lot of opportunities in the government. So where do you get certified? We bank and again, all the links will be posted below. We bank is for women owned, there are over I think there's over 9 million women owned businesses certified in the US. It's one of the fastest growing segments of startups in the US. Then you have now for veteran or service disabled veteran owned it has his his store if you want to do business with the with the Veterans Administration of then where the government then you know, typically for many years, it's been done by the Veterans Administration. It's called the CV certified veteran enterprise. While it's free, it can be very arduous and time consuming. Haha. Anyone who's gone through the process knows exactly what I'm talking about it is in the VA is no longer going to be doing is no longer going to be certifying veteran services able veteran owned businesses, it's going to be as being moved over to the SBA. It hasn't happened yet. So, um, but again, getting the primary reason for getting certified by the VA. Getting that CDE is if you are looking to do business with the Veterans Administration, okay. If you're not and you're looking to do business with, with companies, right, there are a lot of them out there that also set aside and have whole departments and individuals looking for members of these. These areas, right, veteran woman owned minority owned HUBZone, etc. They've put a lot of time and effort and money into trying to do business with these categories. So there are third party certifiers out there. One is called the National minority Supplier Diversity Council. The link will be posted below. Then you have the indie dBc, the National veteran development Business Council that was set up by my good friend Keith King. It is they are the exclusive certifying agency for the billion dollar round table. So all any company that belongs to the billion dollar round table and you can Google it, and those are companies that spend a billion dollars in supplier diversity. So we're talking folks like Johnson and Joe onsen, Disney, you know, excetera, Walmart, they can only track and report their veteran spend with companies that are certified by Nv dBc, which is the National Veterans development Business Council. I think their fees range depending on your revenue. And you do have to renew it. I think it's every two years. So each of these you have to renew on a periodic on a periodic basis. And then there's Nevada, the National veteran owned business association, lots of acronyms here, because for some reason the military loves their acronyms at noon. The link will be listed below. And again, those are those are connecting corporate America to veteran owned businesses. And, and and let us not forget the most exciting certification to come on the scene in many, many, many years is the military spouse owned enterprise certification offered by the one and only US military spouse Chamber of Commerce, it is free folks free free. And the companies that we have on board right now that are accepting the certification are Johnson and Johnson CVS health USA, Disney, and we have quite a few others in the works that I can't announce yet.
So it's worth it to get certified, it really is. And you can write the cost off on your taxes. The mill spouse certification is free. Right now, our corporate sponsors pay for the cost of us going through all of it. So you can all those links will be listed below. Um, pay 35 states as well as DC thus far have passed legislation to designate to, to designate set aside for these for this spend. So I've major find out what you know, visit them find out if you qualify. And again, it's worth getting certified. It really is it we're big in this community about you know, we call it stolen, valor it super easy to say you serve super easy to say you're a veteran owned business. Um, you know, one way to make sure that, you know, we're doing this with integrity, and we're actually patronizing veteran in 2000 businesses is if businesses take the time to get certified, right?
Oh, no, no, you. You're looking at one who took two months to get that VA, sir. Because when I started my journey after return out of the military, one of my mentors gave me that information is like, hey, and I started in the government contracting space, because I was an independent contractor. So I did a lot. And that was my vision, like, when a big contract one day, so that was like, one of the things you got to do is you got to get certified, got to do all your stuff and get into the system. But literally, it took about two months. And I would advise you if you're going for a certification, and a buddy of mine said it to if we're going for any of these, these government aid, get your your paperwork in order. Oh, I think that is the hardest part. Yeah, luckily, I did have my stuff together. But that's what's gonna make the process a grind because you don't have your taxes in order. You don't have all your, you know, operating agreements, you don't have all your banking, you know, certificates in order because those are the things the VA and government and these type of certifications going to ask for. Right? They want to see where we're, where's the money reside? What am I doing?
This? Yeah, exactly. And control. It is all about ownership and control. You see, you can't just say, hey, this company is 51% owned by a veteran. They want to know that it's controlled by a veteran to me, because we're all that. Yeah. Got into a lot of trouble where there were some bad press. Um, you know, when companies were just bringing on a veteran and going Oh, yeah, it's veteran owned when? Yeah, no, it's not veteran owned and operated. You got to be the one making the decisions. So and somebody else asked, how do you go about it if it's just you? The same way? Same way, same process, same way. In fact, my advices if you have a business and you're serious, get certified early, because the longer you wait, the more complicated all the paperwork and reporting is. Do it early. Hi, Kristen stuff. We
actually have a comment in the chat box. Before we go away from this topic. Someone wanted to know how to get the military spouse sorry. certification at the chamber. Good question. Good.
Yeah. So what we know and thank you, thank you anonymous moderator. Um, we will put the link of the link should be below to the mill, its mill spouse chamber.org. And we actually have two levels of certification. One is if you are basically, you know, I don't want not a sole proprietor, but if, if it's just you, and maybe a partner, and if your partner is your another military spouse, or your spouse, then you still qualify. So right now, to get certified as a veteran owned, you have to be 51%, or more veteran owned, owned and operated. We saw a problem with that, because oftentimes, husbands wives or legal partners will join up and start a business together 5050, and that they don't qualify as veterans, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, maybe that'll change but the mill spells chamber. We accept that. So if it's 5050, between two spouses, or like you're your spouse, then you qualify, you qualify. So just go on the website, if you own and operate the business. Or if you have investors, or if you have investors or stockholder stockholders, that's another level of certification. So we offer to and by the way, we also certify nonprofits. Nobody else certifies nonprofits. Well, because technically, legally, nonprofits are not owned by anyone. But we certify them as military spouse leg. So that's how you do it. Yeah,
yeah. That's, uh, that's all. Hey, you know, before we move on to the next question, we want to give a big shout out and they're identified as a top at dawn, Marie, she she's the one I noticed, saying that you have Darnell Jones and James felts on the line too. So big shout out to those folks that are listening in and adding questions and keeping this thing going. I'm gonna save she just add pose and other questions about sole proprietorships when it comes to certifications. Real quick, it doesn't even matter what's uh, how does that look for the military spouse,
you can be a sole proprietor, you can be a sole proprietor and that is, you know, that is such a great question. And while we didn't I don't think we added that one in today. It comes up all the time the difference between you know, sole proprietor at you know, and oh my god, what is it the sole proprietor and an independent contractor? There you go. So, there is a difference, um, and it basically has to do with taxes and liability. taxes and liability but a sole proprietor and, and taxes when I'm talking taxes. I mean, you know, what you pay in taxes and what you can write off in taxes? I don't, you know, that is a great topic. Maybe for the next, you know, Rosie talks, let's, I, you know, what can you write off? Yeah, right, what can you write off as an LLC as a C Corp, etc. So there is, um, you know, or an independent contractor, a sole proprietor, an independent contractor doesn't get a W two, you get a 1099 so that would be me hiring Chris to you know, do some work for the Rosi network, he would be an independent contractor at the end of the year, I'd give him a 1099 tell him telling the IRS what I paid him, he's got to claim that as income again, not a CPA or accountants at all filed a lawsuit against but um, you know, so there are definitely differences and it's a it's a big topic. And I think our next question is no one of our questions we are going to cover and we got to speed it up, you're like okay, this to go too long. We're adult ADHD. Come on back. I got you. I got that. We are going to cover this so much.
I mean, like, this is great that we have people here. I love interact. I love we got it, we got to show appreciation for the interaction. But the next question, I come on to the next question. Yeah. When it is, when is it a good time to start hiring staff? Okay,
so remember what I just said about a contractor. I see. They'll go two to three minutes on it. Let's go. Okay. Okay, so Really quick, there's a basic guidelines to determine when you're ready to hire staff. And that is when you're for one thing is when you're turning down work. Right when you're turning down work, when you have identified new potential revenue streams that you just can't do on your own, your customers are complaining about you right? You're not getting back to them you're not performing. You know, the quality of your product or services is kind of lagging suffering. And, and things like that. So most of us who are entrepreneurs don't have time to do a lot of the daily stuff like you know, financials, bookkeeping, paperwork, stuff like that. I know, I don't I would, I would gouge my eyeballs out if I had to do that every day. So we hire independent contractors to do that for us, for example, I don't, we're not big enough to hire an employee to do it. Now, every state is different. This is critically important. And I tell you, it depends on what state you're in, is part of the answer. It depends on the state that you're in California, we're in California is not look, California, drop the drop some serious laws about independent contractors, employees, great if you're starting out, things that you can't do for yourself, contract them out, don't start looking to hire employees, because that's expensive. Employees require workers comp, time off paid vacation, etc, etc. Whatever you would pay, there's a good guideline, whatever you would pay an independent contractor to do to do for you to do work for you, let's say bookkeeping, if you're going to hire that person, as an employee, tack on at least 30%, on top of whatever you would pay an independent contractor, because that's what's going to cost you in employment taxes in workers comp and time off 30% or more. So look at what you can do with independent contractors instead, right? That bookkeeper, that marketing expert can be an independent contractor instead, as long as you don't violate your state's rules. In California, you know, you have to meet this three prong test to determine whether a hire is an employee or an independent contractor. And it's very strict here and they will come after you. I know at least one, you know, I mean, you can lose your business, you can get sued and you can be done. If you break the law in certain states in California is no joke. Other states are tend to be a little more lenient. Because sometimes people don't want to be employees, they'd rather be an independent contractor, they'd rather be able to say, No, I don't want to take that job. Now, I can't work that month. If you're an employee, you don't have that flexibility, right. So I find it really kind of frustrating when a state sets in these super hard strict rules and regulations that aren't always necessarily small, business friendly. And California, you know. So make sure you check the law, you know, what your law requires, but you know, you'll know when it's time, I mean, if you you know, keep in mind some of those things, if your customers are complaining, if you're turning down work or opportunities, and you can't you don't have the time to go after them. You know, what kind of cash reserves should you have in place? That's a great question. Typically, six months is usually a good rule of thumb. Right? But again, you know, it is you know, revenue is not always predictable. Your expenses are predictable, can be predictable, you hire someone and you're paying them 26 or, you know, $75,000 a year, those expenses are predictable, your revenue is not so that's why I say if you can hire independent contractors, it's it's usually a safer bet. safer way to go. And and they haven't made volunteering illegal yet. So no, no good. No, you volunteer, so check your state law. But that is such a great question. And a lot of people struggle with it. Hiring independent contractors.
That's a good good advice, because I'm not a good Bookkeeping and Tax guy. That's Oh, no, and you're
Hey, Chris, here's in for all of our listeners. here's the here's a basic rule of thumb. Up legally at least. So Chris is the videographer, the photographer Pro, he's an expert. I'm not if I'm holding an event. And that's a service that I need. I'm not going to hire an employee. It's it's not what the Rosie network does, right? So it but if I'm a video, photography company, and I hire Chris, as an independent contractor versus an employee, I could get in trouble. The my state will look at it and go, No, Stephanie, you're a video company. And you're hiring Chris to do all this work as an independent contractor. He's actually an employee because his services are directly related to your core business. Okay, so you got to watch that. That's how that's one of the ways California and many states look at it. You end up with the metal bracelets, the ones that connect and wearing stripes. I don't want to wear the alone. I don't want to wear stripes. polka dots are much much better
on me. So let's take it home. We have our last question of the evening. This has been so much fun that love the questions love the energy loving engagement laid on us for profit, or nonprofit? You know what I say this one way should I be?
I saved this for last because this is my favorite question. Obviously the Rosi network is a nonprofit. If I could go back and do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have done it as a nonprofit. I didn't know anything about running a nonprofit, nada, zilch. I filed all the paperwork with the state of California, all that so I filed it myself. So if you're starting a business and you want to, you know, you got to file with your state you got to register. If you're smart, and assuming assuming that you have at least a certain level of intelligence to want to be a business owner, you can file all that paperwork yourself, don't get sucked into that you know, only 299 file an LLC, you can do it yourself. If you're starting out. If your ideas much more complicated, and you've got stakeholders and investors, don't do it yourself, given the dirty Don't be a dummy. Um, so I I look at it. As you know, there's a significant percentage of folks that come to us at the Rosie network that want to be a nonprofit, I kind of team my it's my responsibility to be honest with them. It is hard, it is hard. Here's a reality check. Less than two tenths of 1%. So think of the big pie think 1% of that big pie. Now take that 1% and cut it down to tints less than two tenths of 1% of all philanthropic giving, all philanthropic giving it across all categories goes to support veteran service organizations, which if you're a veteran or a military spouse, and you're serving this community, you are considered a VSO a veteran service organization, less than two tenths of 1%. All right, now, once you've swallowed that pill, which is a horse pill, it doesn't taste good. The hardest swallow, I want you to do this for me, if you're thinking about starting a nonprofit, and that's because your heart is in it and you want to do something and give back. Amen. Good on you. Go find an organization that does something similar, and volunteer, volunteer your time and services, okay, determine whether or not two things, one, maybe this idea that you have, can operate under an existing nonprofit. And you can do that legally and collect donations and sponsorships by signing a what is called a Fiscal Sponsorship agreement, an FSA, you can download a template. So in other words, let's say you let's say you have an incredible idea and program to help veterans transition out of service, instead of starting your own nonprofit to provide that. Find one that currently does right and there are a bunch of them. There are a bunch of big ones, there are ones local in your neighborhood, find them and go, hey, I've developed this program, this series of tests or training or coaching to serve this community. It can I work with you, here's what I'm doing. Blah, blah, blah, I want to volunteer with you. And then if you're interested in my you know, this program, and you can get them to sign an NDA, non disclosure, non compete. I'm determined at the end of that if they go wow, we've loved it. This is great. We're getting great feedback from it. Then you can provide you can still run your that program under a Fiscal Sponsorship. greement under an existing 501, c three, C six, you gotta educate yourself know what the differences are. And then you can you can legally accept donations, they'll, the bigger nonprofit will probably no doubt collect take a percentage, right because they do the bookkeeping, which is also kind of an advantage. So there are multiple ways to skin that cat rather than entering into what is already an extremely competitive, tiny, tiny slice of the money pie. Um, there's also another alternative, if you still want to do social good, but make a profit. There's such a thing called a B Corp. Not every state recognizes B corpse. Look it up B Corp is a benefit corporation, it's actually a for profit, that must have a goal to benefit a community or the environment. Have you ever heard of a B Corp? Chris? No, no, no, no, no. No, no,
it's new. It's recognized by the IRS. Not all states, you know, but a lot of states and more than half now recognize what B corpse and B Corp is basically most most corporations, especially if you know, if you are public Corp, and you've got investors, and you've got stockholders, they all want one thing. And one thing only the focus is always on profit. Did you grow from last quarter, we don't care if you're doing good, we want to know our stock is increasing in value, we want to know you're making revenue. A B Corp still has the focus to make revenue. But you can basically say, Hey, I'm our, our charter, our responsibility is not just about revenue, but it's about doing good for community or the environment. So we can turn things down and you can say to your stockholders or your investors, hey, we're a B Corp, you know, this is we're not going to take that job, because it is against our charter. You know, if our focus is on the environment, that job yet we'll pay a lot of money, but it also pollutes the environment is against our charters. Does that make sense? Yeah, there's a lot of things into it, there's different reporting, etc, etc. But look into a B Corp. Um, again, if you're looking into doing nonprofit, reach out to another nonprofit that exists that you respect and talk to them. Consider operating as a Fiscal Sponsorship agreement. If you decide after a year or so doing that, that you've got enough and you can be your own, then go out and file for a 501 c three or 501, c six, or any other see whatever. Know what the laws are, if you're starting early enough, you can actually file that paperwork. The IRS now has a abbreviated format to file for a 501 c three that's available. It wasn't available back in my day. But again, it's you know, it's a tough road to hoe. And a for profit is you know, you know, let's put it this way. If you run a nonprofit you can't pay you founded it like I did for the Rosi network, I can't pay myself half a million dollars a year. I can't the IRS would come after us. Um, so you know, there are ups and downs. There really are ups and downs. Yeah. And so my advice is if you can do it as a for profit, go do it as a for profit, or a B Corp. Okay, nonprofit, you could do good things as a for profit, you could also start an for profit and then set up a foundation under your for profit. So you know, I'm not trying to skew people away from starting a nonprofit. But just know there are you're limited, it is a lot more limiting the IRS doesn't hand them out. He you know, like candy on Halloween night. It is hard to get and hard to maintain. And your info becomes essentially public knowledge. And you can't pay yourself more than industry standard. based on the size of your organization. You're not starting a nonprofit to get rich. And if you're going to start a nonprofit, I'm going to leave you with this. Don't think you can do it successfully on unpaid volunteers. You can't hold unpaid volunteers accountable. Okay. And I'm really tired of hearing Well, we're nonprofit and we don't pay our people. That's nothing to brag about. That's not sustainable. I have smart, talented people and they all get paid, and I wish I could pay him more. And when we bring money in and you better hire more money we bring in our money goes into effect. In to the people that we serve by hiring the best folks out there to serve them. And you should be doing the same thing.
But that's solid. I love it. You know, one thing that resonates with me what you said, I've never heard anyone say that about nonprofits because I've worked with folks that are doing nonprofit in sports, or one of my sports is wrestling and, you know, I was trying to help them start up. But what you said by looking towards someone who's doing what you want to do, and work out some type of working agreement, versus reinventing the wheel over here, when you can be a spare tire or a different type of
sponsorship agreement. Fiscal Sponsorship agreement, it is recognized by the IRS it is a legal document. As a partnership it real and I I started the Rosi network under a Fiscal Sponsorship agreement with another under another 501 c three. Yep. It's a weird way to do it.
That's the way to do it. Because like you said, you know, when you start, you don't know, but what a good way to get some mentorship. You know, in a little coaching, you know, because I know there's gonna be a little give and take. But it'd be a great way to start the guarantee. I won't say guarantee you success, but heighten your chances of winning and the end when you make the transition to jump out there by yourself.
Yeah. And do do your research. You know, we, this community, I mean, I've never I grew up in it, I married in it, I've raised kids in it, people have heard me say, but this community is. So we are unlike any other community out there. We want to see each other succeed, we want to help each other out we Right. I mean, we it really is an A unique, incredible community. And, you know, do but find folks to you know, if you want to do a nonprofit, we want to give because of that big heart and that sense of service and helping you know, we, we we sometimes feel guilty about making money from helping others don't. It's a lesson Stephanie had to learn. Don't don't feel guilty. People who make money have the ability to help, you know, on a sometimes a much bigger scale. And people who don't have money, so, you know, don't fall into the trap of going, I really want to help I have a big heart I want to give, I'm gonna start a nonprofit. It doesn't have to be that way. Okay. Um, and if you're determined to do a nonprofit, consider other options. consider doing it in safe ways, like Fiscal Sponsorship agreement, things like that. Oh, that's awesome. Well, we are hitting one hour I said 3045 minutes and we hit one hour. So that's Hey,
I didn't want to stop you. The engagement is good conversation. That's how it is when you're having a great conversation. And it's we This was so easy. We got to do this again. This was so we're doing
it again. We're doing it again. Chris Come on. Now we signed up for this. So I'm the guy I'm the guy now. You're my guy. I'm the guy there
but I had I had a great time doing this I love doing these co hosts
Yeah, we want to hear from we're not gonna know everything. We don't know everything. But we don't we don't know everything. All I you know, I can tell you is the bumps and bruises the the wins that I've had, have rarely been because of Stephanie. The wins that we've had as we've been because of my team, my mentors, people like you, Chris, who you know, who stand out who I trust, who have integrity, you know it, build those teams, surround yourself with those people. And that's really what I hope that we're doing, not just with the Rosie network in the military spouse chamber, but with you know, Rosie talks, everything that we put together is all about building and empowering this incredible community and this network. So yeah, we're doing it again and i think i think you know, follow us follow us follow triple nickel greenbrae Media. Follow the Rosi network. Follow the military spouse Chamber of Commerce on social media. You will see dates and times When we're posting the next rosy talks, we want your questions. We want your challenges your opportunities, you'll get honest. Not rose colored glasses. We're gonna tell you what that dress makes you look bad.
You know, like, Oh, I want her Dude, you're gonna get she said they gave our business analogy is the ugly baby. Everybody's got an ugly baby when he first started. Rosie was an ugly baby, but we were right. It was my baby. It was my baby.
But I listened no smarter people. And again, we wouldn't be here what's not because Stephanie is some genius. I'm not it's because Stephanie had determination. And I was smart enough to ask for help. That is it. No.
Before we go, I will. First of all I want to give a big shout out to all my other Rosie sisters out there. We know we're in the trenches. From all this chapter leads out there. Yeah, love you guys and and keep doing what you're doing. miss you. Because we've been we've been off the air. We take the time out of meeting during the week. I kind of miss the girls.
I know. I know. I know. We Yeah. Our leads are really our spokes that keep the engine going. That wasn't bad. But you know,
no, no, no. Today you mentioned a couple of definitely Darnell with veteran grows America one or our cool people that have been doing some things and
no, no, we're doing showcase events. I call them showcase events because I'm old school. I'm Veteran Business expos. I know. Yeah. With a fees, uh, you know, around the country. And the this is an incredible opportunity. I'm telling you if you got a product or even a service to sell a piece isn't taking a percentage You know, we've had so we're again, I'll be in Charleston Air Force Base Joint Base Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina. I'm going to my my birth state. I was born in South Carolina at the end of this month. So if you if you're interested in featuring your business, please reach out to us let us know the deadline is fast approaching and we've had some folks you know, walk away with some serious bank we showcase it
I mean, I'm telling you Oh bar for Belvoir Expo was amazing. One of our Rosi students were there and she sold out and I would say I like this like if you're wanting to test your product in which you have and put it in front of people this is a good way to do it. Right? You know, go there sign up take your take some items out there. And this is part of your market research because this is a live this is like a live training lab for your business. See if somebody's a buy it because they don't know when they roll up. how long you've been in business. They just know you have a product. Yep. And it's for sale. And if they want it, they're gonna buy it. You're gonna buy
Yeah, I I agree. We have had some incredible innovative products and I'm going to add some of the best food that I've brought home like five times for the last one I was at I brought home like five boxes of cookies that were ginger cookies, right? I ate two of those two of those boxes in the airplane. The flight back in your freezer are so good. Check it out veterans bureau america.com. You can also find it on our social media. We post all the stuff that we're doing there. I hope you're following and I think our next one or one coming up our next Rosi talks, we're gonna be talking about restaurants and food service, what COVID did I mean that's going to be part of the focus, what COVID how COVID impacted these businesses, what some of them did to pivot and be successful, things like that. So I hope you'll tune in. We've got some amazing speakers coming in for the next one that are going to share some studies, some resources, some moolah. And you know all about that. That is we have a lot of businesses in the food service and restaurant, supply, etc. businesses out there a lot of home based businesses and how to knock it out of the park. So
that's it, I think. I think we reached our goal as we did complete Pass complete. We did it. So it gets out of here. Thank you.
Thanks for joining us, everyone. We are here to serve you