Being a founder, entrepreneur, or a business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur“ we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tae Lee.
Tae Lee, known as the “Money Maximizer,” is an International Best-Selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer based out of Birmingham, Alabama. Tae now creates diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industry. Tae Lee is also known for her other financial literacy books, Never Go Broke, Money Success Planner & High School Edition. She is constantly building generational wealth, not debt.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Tae Lee: Life experiences inspired me to become an entrepreneur. After I went to college and could not find a job in my field, I had to figure it out. I started waitressing at a restaurant and realized that this was not my calling. From there, I never looked back. Entrepreneurship here I am.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Tae Lee: The “Aha Moment” for me was meeting with a business coach that led to the idea for Never Go Broke. The coach asked me the question “What type of advice or questions do you answer for people for free every day?” I told her that it was mostly finance-based questions and it was all she wrote from there. A few years later, Never Go Broke was born.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
Tae Lee: I was not a born entrepreneur, but I developed the aptitude later after witnessing my mother and grandmother live the entrepreneurial life. I did not fully tap into the entrepreneurial mindset until after college when I could not find a job, even though I had a degree.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Tae Lee: Yes, one of my friends at the time was a big inspiration to me when I was first starting out my business. He pushed me to live out my dream and take control of the situation I was currently in. It was either work a job that I hate, make no money, or start a business doing something that I will enjoy and will help people. It is because of him pushing me to pursue my dreams that I am the entrepreneur you see before me.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Tae Lee: Our company stands out because we deliver the utmost customer service and care for our clients. We always receive constant feedback from our clients regarding the quality of the products and services and how we can improve as a company to continue bringing them excellent service.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Tae Lee: Three character traits that were most instrumental to my success were not giving up, motivation and always maintaining a warm and kind attitude. Not giving up was instrumental to me because in the beginning and sometimes now I have had plans fall through the cracks or ideas take longer than usual to come to fruition. It is important for me to understand that even though some plans may not work, you have to stay diligent and never give up. Motivation is the second character trait that was influential towards my success. I am motivated regardless of what is thrown at me, I keep going. Lastly, always keep a positive and kind attitude. I enjoy helping those around me reach their goals and success as much as I want to reach mine. There is enough money to get to the top for everyone, so help each other along the way.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Tae Lee: Following your passion will make you money, which is not always true. You can have a passion for something and still not make a lot of money. You have to find a happy medium where you can make money and still be passionate about the work you do.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Tae Lee: I would recommend colleagues in my industry to give vacations and breaks to their employees to thrive. Whether those are mental health days or long extended vacations, it is important for your employees to take time away from the hustle and bustle of work and just reconnect with themselves. Also, it is important to show your employees that you appreciate their dedication and work ethic to your organization.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Tae Lee: I would advise other business leaders to stay and show consistency in their business. Staying consistent in their industry will not only show that your company is a leader within the industry, but it will also build trust, credibility and authority with other business leaders in your field.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
Tae Lee: This is essential today because people purchase products from companies and organizations that they trust and admire. It is important to make sure that your company is at the forefront of their industry and at the same time be at the forefront of its consumer minds.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Tae Lee: The most common mistake that I have seen CEOs and founders make when they start a business is not keeping track of their money. This can be avoided by hiring an accountant, bookkeeper, or getting good software to look at your finances on a regular basis.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
Tae Lee: Entrepreneurs will have dramatic highs and lows because instead of worrying about your specific assignment department within a company, you have to constantly have your finger on the pulse of every department within your organization. This is the biggest difference between someone with a “regular” 9-5 job than an entrepreneur’s job.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Tae Lee: A time when I felt unusually high was when I wrote my first book. I was excited because I wrote it and never thought I would finish it! It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that went into it. I was a published author all on my own.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Tae Lee: I felt extremely low when I paid for a service to get a product made and it was not good quality at all. It wasn’t up to my standards and they didn’t feel as if they did anything wrong. They did not want to return my money and they flat out said we didn’t think it was going to be this hard, so they did not finish the product creation. I was out of time, money, and I didn’t have the product.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Tae Lee: I bounced back by crying it out, strategizing and finding another option. I made sure I thoroughly explained everything to the next person and made sure that they understood what was expected such as timelines and the quality of the product.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
Motivation: You have to be self-motivated. Everyone around you is not going to motivate you to get it done and sometimes everyone around you will tell you to give it up. You have to want it, do it for yourself and have a reason so you can keep going.
Celebrate the Wins: Remember to pat yourself on the back when you make accomplishments no matter how big or small. Every win won’t be huge but knowing that you did it is great.
Support System: Having at least one person by your side helps successfully manage the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.. It is hard at times to do it on your own so when you have someone that can do a good job every once in a while is great.
Be Ready For Growth: Prepare yourself and plan for growth. Have strategies in place in order for them to happen. Don’t wait until it happens and panic. Plan and then make it happen when it’s time.
Resiliency: Be able to bounce back when things go wrong. You can’t focus on what you didn’t do right. Focus on what you need to do in order not to let it happen again. Take time, evaluate, and maneuver.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Tae Lee: I define resilient people as people that are able to overcome obstacles that are thrown at them. It may not happen overnight, but they do it. They are able to take breaks and reevaluate the situation and figure out what needs to be done to grow and change the situation they are in. Resilient people are motivated, positive, and appreciative.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Tae Lee: Yes, growing up and watching my mother and grandma live the entrepreneurial life contributed to me building my resiliency in my life. I saw how hard they work and the things that they did to be great. They showed me how to bounce back and learn from it.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
Tae Lee: Overall, I tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations. I learn that having a negative attitude will not get you far in life but having a positive attitude will. There have been many times where my attitude was negative, but I have had to stop, breathe and change my mind set in order to make things happen. Being able to shift my attitude has allowed me to progress in my life.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Tae Lee: A leader’s positive attitude can make a positive impact on both their clients and their team because how the leader acts and behaves translates throughout the entire team and organization. If a leader is rude and consistently has a bad attitude, your team will behave the same, which will then translate into rude behavior when interacting with their clients. A leader should be positive around their team and show them that they are appreciated, so that they will stay at the company.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
Tae Lee: An inspirational quote that motivates me to pursue greatness is “I may not be the smartest person in the room, but I am the hardest worker in the room.” It has been many people in the room that were smarter than me, but they were lazy. Being smart doesn’t necessarily mean you will make it but working hard can get you to the top.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Tae Lee: Readers can further follow my work on Instagram @nevergobrokeinc and by visiting the Never Go Broke website as www.nevergobroke.money
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with
this. We wish you continued success and good health!