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Successfully Self Employed with Jeffrey Shaw

admin November 16, 2021

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Successfully Self Employed with Jeffrey Shaw

LifeBlood ENGAGE:  We talked about how to become successfully self employed, how the thing that makes entrepreneurs different is a gift to be nurtured, not discouraged, and a framework for finding success!

with Jeffrey Shaw, Small Business coach, author of The Self-Employed Life, speaker and podcaster.   

Listen to learn how to find “your thing” and earn a living doing it!  

For the Difference Making Tip, scan ahead to 18:08!

You can learn more about Jeffrey at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening!  If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and subscribe as well. 

You can learn more about us at, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact George at

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jeffrey Shaw

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on. Jeffrey, are you ready?

Jeffrey Shaw 0:13
I’m ready, George.

george grombacher 0:14
I like it. I’m ready. The people are ready. Let’s go Welcome to life blood engage. This is George Gee, our guest today strong and powerful Jeffrey Shaw. He is an author. He is the author of the self employed life. He is a TEDx, and keynote speaker at a small business coach, excited to have you on Jeffrey, tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:37
Well, my personal life misty, I live here in Miami, Florida, I’m kind of at I’m in New York City transplant I came down here for I came down here for three months, six years ago and never left. And that actually tells you a lot about who I am and how I’ve lived my life and my business, which is I fully believe that lifestyle comes first and business decisions come second. So I came down here thinking just getting away for the winter, and found that it was a lifestyle that really fueled the entrepreneurial spirit in that New York City made me think big growbig. But we you know, we get to a point in our lives where what we need is a quick recovery, because life is crazy. And I came down here and realize that I could just walk on the beach and refuel the tank. And, and then get back at it. And once I discovered that, I realized that New York City wasn’t the only place in the world for me that I needed to live on the beach. And here I am, as far as why I do what I do. Gosh, you know, like a lot of us, it’s been a series of iterations. I often say I’m Geoffrey 4.0, because I started my life off as a my professional life anyway, as a portrait photographer for affluent families, did that stray out for 25 years still do very little. But for 25 years, that was all I did. And all I knew and how I made all my money. And then about 13 years ago, I just I started coaching, I had I had had a coach for seven years prior to that. And I realized, you know, I just love business, I could talk a business all day, particularly business owners, it doesn’t have to be my own business to build. In fact, I think there’s a certain joy that comes from watching other people achieve their dreams. So I started coaching, I’ve received over 1000 hours of training. And the reason I say 4.0 is because, you know, prior to reading my book, the self employed life, and actually set out writing out another similar book, but for a broader audience. And what I realized, going into this pandemic was that the people I was most worried about were self employed business owners, and worried about the fact that we typically don’t get the financial help that we’ve needed from our from our governments, and how we’re overlooked and how we’re so strong. We take all the hits on the chin on our own, we don’t ask for help. And that’s why I do what I do. I refer to myself as an advocate for self employed business owners, because I not only want to coach them, help them succeed, I also want to fight for our rights. I want to get more and I am somewhat politically involved. I want to continue that will be my future to get more and more politically involved so that the self employed business owners get the respect and the rights that we deserve. were the hardest working people on the planet.

george grombacher 3:13
Amen. certainly appreciate that. When you think about going into politics, Jeffrey doesn’t that just doesn’t make you not wanting to go into politics?

Unknown Speaker 3:23
No, I was I was heavily involved in Connecticut State politics a years ago, I didn’t hold a position but I was I was an activist, I’m always very active. And so you know, here’s the thing with my son, my son is very heavily involved in politics. And I know Believe me, it’s, it’s, it’s a crazy experience. But you know, at the root of the word, and I think a lot people overlook this, that it’s, it’s wanting to be a public servant. And there’s a difference between a politician and a public servant. And there actually are a lot of people that hold political titles that are truly at their heart, public servants, so they exist. And believe me, if I got involved in what one calls politics, it would be to be a public servant, for the audience that I care about, not for personal gain.

george grombacher 4:09
Amen. So speaking on, on being on being a servant, and not necessarily a public servant, but for an entrepreneur, how do you see a correlation there?

Unknown Speaker 4:20
Oh, you know, it’s, it’s, it can be tried to just say, you know, I think the word serve to serve others can almost become trite, you know, because yeah, of course, of course, we all want that. It’s like saying, I offer the best customer service. But if you don’t understand what that means to you, it’s just a trite comment. And it’s it’s not a differentiator. You know, I always say Cust customer service in and of itself is not a differentiator, because the person down the road can copy your or beat your customer service. It becomes something more than that when you take the time to really understand the people you serve. And this of course, this audience is self employed business owners. The easiest audience for me to serve, because that’s who I am it’s all I’ve ever known. I mean I I have actually never had a traditional job I’ve never received a paycheck I’ve been selling I sold eggs that started selling eggs at 14 years old door to door because I lived in the country and I was professional and professional photographer by 20 like I have never received a paycheck from anyone other than my own myself my own business and this isn’t my blood This is my lifeblood right this is who I am this is my lifeblood my lifeblood has an I believe always will be in support a self employed business owners because I’m in the trenches right with them still living it. So that to me separates customer service serving others takes it at a trite and makes it real, when you really feel like these are the people you need to show up for

george grombacher 5:49
them nice. So talking about self employed folks don’t get the financial help that they need. They, they, they they don’t ask for help. And so you are advocating for them. Are there some key areas that you find this is where folks need advocacy?

Unknown Speaker 6:11
For one it’s knowing they’re not broken? You know, I mean, being self employed is such an odd experience to the extent that even our partners in lives if they’re not also self employed, they don’t get us you know, I mean, I’ve been joking lately cuz I just think it’s so funny about three weeks ago, my mom asked me, you know, the minute I’m 57 years old and three years ago, three weeks ago my mother asked me so how do you make your money I love this I’m like damn even after all these years is 37 years of self employment me She didn’t get it as a photographer because she’s like, Why do rich people pay you let alone now it’s like because we’re actually selling as a coach. It’s like I’m tangible like I can’t show her a product I sell so you realize that you know the world just doesn’t get us so I think a lot of the advocacies first letting people know that you know there are people just like you and that you’re normal when I as a speaker was one of one of the most common comments I get when I walk off stage people say they say to me thank you for giving me permission. And for the longest time George I didn’t know what they’re talking about like what am I giving you permission for when I realized they’re giving I was they felt a sense because I am them. I am gay I’m not sure which is correct. But they felt like you know, they felt like I understood they felt seen heard and understood. And that I gave them permission to a be who they are. Stop listening to a world telling you to focus on one thing sit still and shut you keep your mouth shut. Like I gave them permission. It’s like no, by nature, you’re a creative thinker, you’re going to see all the shiny objects there’s a way of managing it but don’t shut down. Because a more narrow minded traditional world is telling you to focus on one thing and then also I feel like my strategies the strategies I teach in my book the self employed life are what I refer to as right size like they are specific specifically to work for small and self employed businesses. And that was the other part of the permission people felt like wow, I have a way of there’s a way of being in business that my intuition has always told me to be be empathetic be relationship minded, you know B, get a reciprocal minded like what you give out is what you get back it’s a way I believe most small self employed business owners have always wanted to be in business but find themselves stuck trying to emulate what they experience from other businesses which goes against their grain

george grombacher 8:36
I love it. You’ve given me permission think that what a powerful thing because these folks are is it that they’re wired in a way or that’s that that’s just it just be who you are and when they see somebody who’s saying really embrace that the the way that you view things the way you think about things just trust it go with

Unknown Speaker 9:02
it. You know if you asked if you got a if you got all the stuff and I’ve taken it’s very similar polls on a smaller audience, but you can imagine if you got all the self employed business owners in a room and ask them how many felt like the black sheep and their family, I’ll bet 90% of the hands would go up. Right? It takes a certain nature of being an outlier to to live in to live an outlying life you know as a self employed business person. So by nature you already have positioned yourself as being different than everybody else and feeling alone. George one of the things that stood out to me crazy was when I was doing my due diligence for the book that self employed life and I went to Amazon search like what books are out there for self employed business owner so that I don’t replicate anything? Well, you know what? There weren’t any. The only books in the past several months as my books been out, I think it’s like one, maybe two more that have come along. They’re even in the genre. And there is no category by the way for self employed. business books, right? It’s small business, or entrepreneurship, but there is no category for self employed. Right? So that tells you a lot right there. The only books that existed were about taxes, how to save money, when you’re self tax in taxes, when you’re self employed, how to pay your taxes, you’re self employed, two things stood out to me. One is that my God, none of that subject matters to us. For those of us that are really self employed, like taxes are not the number one thing in our mind, marketing, getting more businesses. Number two, the thing that stood out to me is holy crap. I’ve been in business for 36 years at the time. And this is the first time I even searched in Amazon to see if there was a book for me. And that told me a lot. I’m like, and I told my publisher, I think our biggest Marketing Challenge is going to be that self employed. People don’t know to look for the book, they don’t know to look for the help. Right? So those two things that just tell you how, by nature, when you’re self employed, you see yourself as the outlier. You’re doing something braver, and bolder than everybody else you are, and you innately feel like no one gets you, nobody understands you, and you’re in it alone, and you have to figure it all out on your own. You don’t there are people like me in the world that you know, I’ve written books, I write articles, I founded the self employed Business Institute, as a result of putting the book out there, I founded an entire I created an entire five month educational program. Because one common denominator I see in almost everyone that I’ve ever been that almost literally everyone I’ve ever coached is they’re really good at what they do. But the industry the rent doesn’t have any business education on how to make money at it. So we’re really good speakers, really good coaches, really photog really good, really good skill sets. And no one teaches us how to make money at it. And that’s what I do.

george grombacher 11:47
Nice. Yeah, well, that’s an important thing.

Unknown Speaker 11:50
Yeah. I mean, it’s, it seems so obvious. I’m not saying anything groundbreaking, but it’s like a huge wake up call for people to hear them like, yeah, guess what I mean, hey, I’ve been a photographer, they said for 35 3037 years now. And I’ve always said, If I go to, I’ve gone to countless photography conventions, and I always say, if you give any photographer, this room, 1000 bucks, they’re going to go buy a frickin lens, so they can take prettier pictures, instead of taking that $1,000 and hiring a coach or take the programs then teach them how to make money with that lens. And that’s the problem, we’re so caught up in a loop of getting better and better at what we do. But once you’ve achieved a certain level of competency, beyond that you have to make money at it where you don’t get to keep doing it.

george grombacher 12:34
What a great analogy, roomful of photographers, if we gave all of them 1000 bucks, they would run right out and buy a better lens

Unknown Speaker 12:41
100 Like I said, I 37 years in the industry, I guarantee you they would.

george grombacher 12:47
And that’s, that’s, that’s awesome. Trust the instinct. But along the way, let’s put some structure in place to help you set yourself up for the long term.

Unknown Speaker 13:01
You know, it’s getting this right in the beginning lifestyle leads first, you know, how is it you want to live? How how I mean, every here’s the impetus behind writing the book, or, as someone pointed out to me once every expert, this is a guy who researches experts, and he had he recognized that every expert he’s ever studied. Their path was they saw a pattern in the world, for that created a problem for which they had a solution for so that became an extra subject matter expert on that. And the pattern when he pointed it out, I realized that was foundational as to why I was motivated to write the book to self employed life, because the pattern I recognized was that every self employed person I’ve ever asked why they went into business for themselves had the same answer. Everyone says, to control my destiny to control my future to control the hours they work was all about control. To which I always enjoyed responding with, and how’s that working out for you? If, and everybody laughs because the fact of matter is that we become self employed to control our destiny, but we’re entering completely uncontrollable circumstances. So it became a pattern I was intrigued with. And then also realizing I had overcome that on my own life. And I needed to teach other people how to do it. And the way of doing that is what I teach in the book is what I refer to as a self employed ecosystem. It’s understanding the three main components that are required when you’re self employed, and they’re different than if you’re traditionally employed. Because when you’re self employed, it’s personal development. That increases your personal development, not self help. And I’m very careful to distinguish that right because I don’t believe people are broken therefore they don’t need help. But they are our level of success when you’re self employed is relative to your level of personal development. You want more success in your business, you grow yourself as a person, you believe you’re capable of more you believe you deserve more like you constantly have to open up Your own insights, your personal development, so that the next component is business strategy so that the hard work that you put in actually works, it’s not blocked, it’s not held back by limiting thinking. And then you need daily habits to sustain the previous two. So it’s personal development, daily habits, business strategy. So those three components are what make up the self employed ecosystem. And all three need to be firing on all cylinders, not an equal amounts, because you’re going to always spend more time in business strategy than you will delegate daily habits. But all three are essential. So I realized, I recognize the pattern, I recognize the problem, and I recognize I had a solution. That’s what I do teach in both the book and that’s exactly what we build in the self employed Business Institute is a healthy, self employed ecosystem for small business owners

george grombacher 15:51
love it, I think that makes a lot of sense how you’ve identified the pattern and the problem, and then created the ecosystem, which which, which is the solution, because you’ve seen it 1000s of times you’ve lived it.

Unknown Speaker 16:06
And you’ve got to go back to the permission piece. So I might add to that, it’s holistic. And that’s one of the that is the biggest distinguishable difference between a traditional job and being self employed is that when you’re self employed, there is no sharp division between who you are as a person and your job. Right? There’s the old adage that don’t take it personal, it’s business doesn’t apply to us. Right? It’s all personal, not that our feelings get hurt. But it’s all personal in that it’s our successes relative to who we are as people and how we develop. So it has to be an ecosystem. It has to be we can’t we can’t compartmentalize these things because they’re all overlap. So to succeed, when you’re self employed, it has to be a holistic ecosystem in order to achieve your level of success.

george grombacher 16:48
Yeah, yeah, that certainly makes sense. And it’s sort of contrary to the way that that were presented and sold and pitch things, right. We’re like,

Unknown Speaker 16:58
Yeah, exactly. That goes back to the permission piece is like, yeah, that’s why we feel like we’re the outliers. Like, that’s not the way nor that’s not real. here’s the here’s maybe a foundational difference. Most of the world of business is transactional based. When you’re self employed, almost guaranteed your business is relationship based, right? You’re going to get business on those that you build a relationship, you’re going to get returning customers from those you build a relationship with, you’re going to get referrals from those that your relationship. For example, in traditional business, how often do we see businesses offer discounts to new customers only great way to destroy relationships with existing customers, when you’re self employed in in a relationship based business, that’s completely opposite. I teach strategies to actually have benefits and programs available only to existing customers, they need to feel like they are better and different than the general public. You know, and that is a distinguishable difference when you’re self employed is that you are in a relationship based business. So the rest of the world is transactional based.

george grombacher 18:02
Love it? Well, Jeffrey, the people are ready for your difference making tip, what do you have for them?

Unknown Speaker 18:08
You know, and I recently recently wrote this for an article for Entrepreneur Magazine, and it is to hit to find your thing, you know, and I like to use the word thing, because I think it actually opens up your mind to being creative. One of the biggest challenges in difference making tips that will really make a difference view is to do the inner work to find what is the thing that you have to offer the world? That is a combination of what I refer to as meaning and marketability, what has meaning to you? What are you qualified to do what makes you unique, and the world has to want that it has to be marketable, and a way to try to find that difference making differences. I can almost guarantee you the world has been telling you what they find exceptional about you all along, you probably been brushing it off, it’s the compliments that you kind of think that’s no big deal. That’s easy for me. Well, guess what, what’s easy to you may not be easy to other people and people will pay you to for you to to help them with what comes easy to you. We get so and I know this is like having spent my years in creative businesses. People have the hardest time charging the most amount of money for what comes easy for them to them. But that actually is where your superpower and G and creative genius lies.

george grombacher 19:19
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets to come on. Come on. Jeffrey, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you?

Unknown Speaker 19:29
Well, you know, in fact, if you are self employed, and you want to sort through all this, I have a wonderful tool that you can get at self employed Six easy questions. But you’ll get back the results designed by a custom algorithm that will tell you in in what parts of the self employed ecosystem you’re weak in what parts you’re strong. So it’s a great starting point. Again, self employed actually, if you get if you grab that you’ll find me everywhere else, my main web That is Jeffrey And you know it’s it’s easy to navigate from one thing to another.

george grombacher 20:05
Excellent. Well if you enjoyed this as much as I did show Jeff for your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to self employed and take advantage of that assessment tool. Go to Jeffrey Shaw comm find everything that Jeffrey is working on and pick up a copy of the self employed life as well. Thanks again Jeffrey.

Unknown Speaker 20:29
George, thank you so much.

george grombacher 20:30
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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