Six Month Anniversary of Ken Firing The Man

Episode 63

It’s been 6 months since Ken fired the man. In this episode, we have talked with Ken about his eCommerce business so far, the steps he took to balance his full-time job and business prior to firing the man, and the freedom of having control of his own time. He also shares this one regret in starting a business. What do you think is that regret?  

Let’s listen to Ken’s Firing the Man journey to find out! 

[00:01 – 03:51] Opening Segment

  • We introduce our topic for today
  • What’s the last 6 months been for Ken? 

[03:52 – 11:07] Before Firing the Man 

  • Don’t miss our interesting exchange about health insurance
    • How much you should consider it before firing the man 
  • How Ken balanced his full-time job and eCommerce business then

[11:08 – 19:46] After Firing the Man

  • Don’t miss these tips from Ken in running your business 
  • Want some Amazon refunds? Check out Getida
    • Promo code: FTM400
  • “What if firing the man doesn’t work for me?”
    • Listen to Ken’s advice here
  • Ken’s outlook about the future of eCommerce industry

[19:47- 27:03] A 5-Star Experience 

  • Why small businesses fail 
  • Ken talks about the power of networking
  • What is Ken’s only regret in starting a business? 

[27:04 – 28:14] Closing Segment 

  • Final words

Tweetable Quotes:

“Surrounding yourself with like-minded positive people really helps.” – Ken Wilson

“Nothing’s been more powerful for my life than knowing that I can take care of myself and my family on my own.” – Ken Wilson

Resources Mentioned:

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Ken 0:00
launching new products, launching new brands just always be moving in the right direction. If you stay idle and stagnant, that stuff that you were describing is going to hit you at some point. But if you’re constantly improving, and expanding, you know, that kind of just fades away.

David 0:17
I don’t know why corporate America has really made insurance seem like this thing that you need to jump through so many hoops to get in, it’s so hard to get and get better not leave us or else you’re not going to have insurance. And, and going through the process, it really wasn’t that bad tip of the hat to healthcare.gov.

Ken 0:35
through this journey, learning and you know, figuring out what works, what doesn’t improving, and just, you know, slowly getting better, like for me, like there is no quit, there is no fail. You know, you’ve seen the poster in my office. It’s burned the boats, right? So I’m all in not looking back. And 100% of my energy is going to, how can I improve? And how can I get better. And yeah, I’m just I’m just not going to be that 90%. David,

Intro 1:07
Welcome, everyone, to the Firing The Man podcast, a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

David 1:30
welcome everyone to the firing the man podcast on today’s episode, we interview Ken now Ken six months ago, you fired the man and want to get an update from you on how things are going? And are you glad that you made this move? So let’s start here. Help the last six months, Ben?

Ken 1:47
Hey, David, glad to be on the show today. And in a podcast studio. It’s exciting. So six months ago, yeah, I left my day job. And to now it’s, you know, it’s been kind of a new chapter, you know, like, going from working in, you know, corporate environment for almost two decades, between the military and in government jobs and corporate jobs, to working for myself now. It’s like, I have to keep reminding myself and other, you know, my other people are like, you know, if I’m like, I have to do something, and it’s like, no, I make my own schedule, I do whatever I want, whenever I want. And, and it’s kind of taken some time to realize that and to really kind of bring that into focus. So I would say, you know, it’s, it’s been great. I’m still easing into it. And and, you know, kind of writing that new chapter, if you will. But it’s been exciting. And yeah, I’m ready for the ride.

David 2:48
What have been some, like unforeseen things that have come up like it? Is there been any surprises in self employment world?

Ken 2:57
You know, not really, like, you know, when I left my corporate job, I was managing a team, and, you know, multiple calendars and all this other stuff. And I kind of I left that all behind. So there’s almost like, we’ve talked about it before, like, the capacity in my brain was being used up by shit that I didn’t care about. And I didn’t want, right. So what I I literally just, like, shut the door on that last chapter through all that opened up capacity. And I’ve been hitting it hard. And, you know, there’s not been really any curveballs. You know, I everybody’s like, you know, we’re always nervous and anxious. And what about this? What about that, you know, I’ve got friends and family. All I hear is fear when they talk about that stuff. And there’s actually been no curveballs that have really thrown me off track that are earth shattering or anything, it’s, it’s been really nice, actually.

David 3:52
You mentioned fear. And in one topic that always comes up is insurance. People say I can’t leave my job, I’ve got dental, you know, or whatever. And that was one thing that kind of kept me on the sidelines for a while is, you know, I just get in health insurance through my job. And that’s what we use for my family. It’s great. Let’s put this one to bed. Tell us how many hours did you spend finding a plan? How much does it cost? And are people justified in worrying about this or placing so much value on the insurance they’re getting from their company? Sure.

Ken 4:26
You know, I’ve got a kind of a funny story to tell in this one. So, if I back up like two years ago, I was in a mastermind, and it was a group of about eight of us, two people were chairing the mastermind and so on my list of you know, why I couldn’t quit my job or leave my job was insurance, you know, and the two people that were chairing the mastermind, you know, them both by the way, and they and they both said if that is your worry, you don’t have hardly any worries at all because those are easy problems to have. And so at the but at the time, that was like so high of a priority. Are you like, Oh, well, what about my insurance, you know, like, so. So now looking back on that they were right, like getting insurance, health insurance and dental insurance was like, it took literally 30 minutes. And it was not hard at all. Now, without getting too far down in the weeds, you know, I just have insurance for myself, health insurance and dental insurance. And I think I pay like, I think it was like, maybe 500 bucks, and between 506 100 bucks a month for health insurance. And the dental I think was like, maybe 30 or 40 bucks a month. So it literally took me 30 minutes to go on the website, sign up for it. Now I did a lot of research, I look for private plans I look for, you know, healthcare.gov or.org I can’t remember things.gov going there, you know, I did all the research, I looked at all the plans. And you know, you know, you can search for your doctors and your dentist and your chiropractors, and it’s super easy, and definitely not something. If you’re you know, as you’re planning to exit your job, that’s definitely not something that should be high on your list of things to worry about. At least, you know, from my experience,

David 6:11
it definitely you know that that echoes my experience recently, I would say I probably have four hours invested in the total process of like researching plans, we got one off healthcare.gov for myself, my wife and my son, we got a pretty solid plan. And it’s $1100 a month. But I don’t know why corporate America has really made insurance seem like this thing that you need to jump through so many hoops to get in, it’s so hard to get in You better not leave us or else you’re not going to have insurance. And and going through the process. It really wasn’t that bad. tip of the hat to healthcare.gov.

Ken 6:46
Yeah, no, I agree. And you’re right. And I don’t know what this mystical piece or this, you know, it’s almost like, you know, the corporations are kind of putting their thumb on you and kind of holding you down. And, you know, after going through that process, you know, you went through it, I went through it. It’s it’s not that it’s not that big of a deal. And yeah, definitely, if you’re listening to this, and, you know, you’re thinking about, you know, leaving your job, or you’re putting your plan together like like, you know, don’t let this one kind of hold you back. This is a this is one of the easier hurdles, but but it definitely is top of mind for a lot of people.

David 7:16
Yeah, definitely. And I just wanted to you know, since you’re on the other side now, I wanted to kind of dispel that myth is that insurance is this really challenging thing to get and going to be crazy expensive? And, and so anyway, let’s talk about So prior to you firing the man, you were working your full time job, and then you were working on your Amazon business. And I just in knowing you like you work a lot, your hard worker, what have you seen now that your ecommerce business is your sole focus? Are you working more hours per week? less hours per week? What’s that, like?

Ken 7:52
So I would say, I mean, I’m definitely working less hours per week, because I, you know, I’m not doing both, right. So prior to, you know, going full time in e commerce, I was probably working on average, 12 hours a day. And then on the weekends, probably between four and eight. So now I probably do an eight to 10 a day. And then in probably two to four on the weekends. So less, definitely less. And my my business has really improved because I’ve been able to focus on doing more things, as well as like, deep focus, like, okay, hey, I want to really research this and really spend a lot of time on it. And I and I have more capacity to hold on to things versus what I felt before was like I was my engine was running at 100 miles per hour. But I was just doing his things as quickly as possible to get them done, versus really slowing down. Thinking methodically. Okay, what’s going to be the best ROI? You know, how am I strategically building this up? No, I was just like, going fast I can I need to do this, I need to do that. I need to end this kind of scrambling. So that to answer your question, I’m working less, but all of the work that I’m doing is going to benefit me.

David 9:04
You brought up deep focus in and for those of you tuning in on audio only. I am cupping my hands as if I’m trying to hold water. And I feel like deep focus. I have three to four hours of it every day. And but trying to get more is impossible, and it just kind of leaks out through your fingers. You know what I mean? Yeah, and so like being able to take that deep focus and apply it all on your business, or what you want to apply to, I think is so critical. Because I don’t what about you do you have like, you know, in the morning, so that’s when my deep focus. That’s when I do my best work. If you have some similar Yeah, I

Ken 9:41
agree. You know, early early in the morning, I nobody else is waiting. No, it’s working. And that is my best time to do deep focus. I’m fresh, you know, I’ve just rested, ready to hit it hard. And I don’t have the buisiness the you know of the day people pinging me people wanting things, people needing things. So yeah, early morning, I can, I can usually get a couple hours of deep focus and, and then once my day is going on, you know, everybody’s in motion or everything’s going good, I’ll carve out another couple of hours to really focus on whatever it is that day that I want to spend, you know, a lot of time and effort on it and really put a really put a solid foot forward versus just kind of scrambling, you know.

David 10:26
So I think one thing that that could be challenging is, is that you’re working from home, right, you’re working remotely, and it may be hard to unplug it. So I see that in my own business. Like, if I had a coffee shop, I need to get my car and drive to that coffee shop in order to work. But with my ecommerce business, my computer is generally within about 50 foot of me all the time. And so it’s tempting to go in there and, and you know, work in the evenings or so what have been some things that you have done to kind of like separate work in life, and any, like pro tips on keeping a balance, or things you do throughout the day, that kind of fresh in your mind.

Ken 11:08
Sure, yeah. So this is a constant struggle with, you know, with me, and it’s probably, you know, with with a lot of listeners and entrepreneurs is keeping that balance. So for me personally, you know, every other week, you know, my son lives with me. And so I, one of the reasons why I wanted to start a business was that I could spend more time with my children. And so when he’s there, you know, I don’t work as hard. And, and I have an intentional focus on spending time with him. And so I will, you know, kind of build my day around that. So I, you know, I take, I drive him to school, I pick them up, you know, he has soccer, we hang out, we have dinners together. And so when he’s there, I really kind of focus on spending time with him. And that, you know, that’s, that’s brought me so much more happiness, and being able to do that makes me feel really good. So that is, you know, every other week that and then the week that, you know, he’s with his mom, you know, it is tough, I will find myself, you know, working nonstop for long periods of time. But one of the things I’ve recently done is printed out a large calendar, I went to the, you know, local print shop, and it’s like three foot by six foot. It’s massive, and it’s the entire year. And so what I’m doing is building us out, and I’m highlighting trips that I’m taking throughout the gear, and specific colors, you know, and so and I’ve, I’ve hung this up on the wall, between my office, and like my living area, right? So anytime I come out of there, it’s visible. And so when I walk past that, I look at that, and I think Oh shit, you know, I’ve got this trip, you know, that’s coming up in a minute kind of makes me excited. And so it kind of breaks the monotony of that. And in terms of one thing else that one other little couple of them that I’ve been doing is every hour on the hour, cuz you’re ready to do work from home. So every hour on the hour, I take five minutes, and I either meditate or I’ll do a 20 2020 like push ups, squats and setups or anything, just just a move. So every hour on the hour, five minutes of either of those and kind of alternate. That usually helps. Those are probably my top tips are

David 13:20
to dig in on your every hour on the hour using an alarm or is it just like watching the clock? Or how do you usually do that?

Ken 13:26
Yeah, mental for now. It’s just kind of like it’s not methodical. I probably next level to put a timer on. But I have my phone on DND. So that’s something else that I learned is, you know, between all the notifications, you know the ring doorbell like everything my phone used to just used to cut into my focus. So now my phone is off. So I don’t like I don’t like to have any kind of alarms or notifications. So it’s usually Yeah, mental. Oh, okay, it’s time.

David 13:56
Sorry to interrupt the episode, you may have heard Ken and I talking recently about a new tool that we’re using for Amazon refunds. Now I have used other refund tools like this. However, I can tell you in the first seven days, they scrubbed it the back end of my Amazon account going back 18 months and found $5,000 of refunds. And the nice thing about this is it’s my money, Amazon made a mistake and they are just auditing my account. The other thing I really like about this tool is there is no monthly fee. They only charge a commission if they are successful in getting you your money. Go to att.com ge t ID a and enter promo code FTM for firing the man FTM 400 this is an awesome tool. I can’t say enough good things about it. Now back to the episode.

Now let’s do a little roleplay here. I’m going to be pre firing the mannequin. Alright, you’re obviously post firing the mannequin. I’m going to ask you some questions. And here are the saying like if I could write a letter to myself alright. So that’s kind of that’s the responses I’m looking for here. So, me being pre firing me and Ken, I’m gonna ask you, hey, what if this doesn’t work? Like, what if my Amazon? What if my Amazon account gets shut down? What would I do?

Ken 15:14
Yeah, sure. So a couple things, I have multiple Amazon accounts, and that there are there services that you can go to to get the account, you know, and, you know, not suspended or reinstated. So it’s not a huge, you know, it’s not a huge issue. It is a fear. And the other thing is, you know, there’s other aspects that I’m working on is diversifying the business having other sales, you know, other sales channels coming in. So, although that is concerned, I’m not, you know, it’s mitigated by having multiple accounts and having a network of people that I can reach out to and get the account reinstated, and having some cash reserves for that kind of a blip if it happens. Okay.

David 15:54
Another question pre firing the man can may have had is, you know, one thing I like about my job is my paycheck shows up on the first and 15th every month, like, and I know what it’s going to be. And I like that it’s steady, and going out on my own, there’s not going to be that stability. Well, how would you respond to that?

Ken 16:16
Well, you know, I pay myself now, so I can go in and pay myself anytime I want to. So there’s more flexibility than I have now. And, you know, I think I’m going into month, month eight now, after leaving since leaving my job and have not missed payroll and eight months, like, you know, I’m not going to miss paying myself, right. Like my company would gladly not my old company would gladly not pay me. But So to answer your question is, yeah, payroll comes in every month, and not a problem.

David 16:48
Okay. Another question you may have had is, you know, one reason I don’t want to leave my job is that I’ve heard a lot about specifically, the Chinese will go over and take over your listings, or sell a counterfeit product. And that really worries me, I’ve got a couple products that are doing really well. And I would be in big trouble. If the Chinese came in and made counterfeit goods in work, to try to either sell on my listing or to, you know, try to introduce a new product that was exactly like mine. What would you say to that?

Ken 17:20
Sure, you know, that threat always, always exists, you know, not not only just the Chinese, but any nefarious sellers, or whatever, I would say, you know, I have Brand Registry, which blocks, blocks, people from listing on my listings, and always kind of always improving my products, listening to the customers, hey, you know, this is, you know, this isn’t working, hey, we’re having problems with this when proving them. You know, a lot of Chinese sellers, they don’t don’t, they don’t do that. They just go and see something that they can replicate and do it. And also, you know, always expanding and doing it, and, you know, launching new products, launching new brands, just always be moving in the right direction. If you stay idle and stagnant, that stuff that you were describing is going to hit you at some point. But if you’re constantly improving, and expanding, you know, that kind of just fades away.

David 18:14
What about this? You know, I heard that 90% of new businesses fail. And so statistically, if I fire the man, things are not going to pan out. How would you address that?

Ken 18:27
I would say, yeah, that’s a pretty scary statistic. And so I’m in year four. And so yeah, yeah, I think the it’s better than 90% of small businesses fail within, within the first five years, I would say for, for me, specifically for us, anybody in e commerce, it’s a really, really good space to be in right now. I don’t see the market penetration of e commerce was like, in the 20s, of regular retail. And I see that and that was in 2020, when that really the the market penetration of e commerce accelerated last year during the pandemic, and it’s going to continue to accelerate. So the market that a man is ecommerce is has a lot of upside over the next decade. And, you know, I would say that, you know, through this journey, learning and you know, figuring out what works, what doesn’t improving, and just, you know, slowly getting better, like for me, like there is no quit, there is no fail. You know, you’ve seen the poster in my office. It’s burned the boats, right? So I’m all in not looking back. And 100% of my energy is going to, how can I improve and how can I get better? And yeah, I’m just I’m just not going to be that 90%. David,

David 19:46
watching you work and watching you build your brands, I don’t think you will be either. I think a portion of that is people that give up that, you know, they’re a year into it. They haven’t put any cash in their pocket, and they’re wondering what the heck am I doing? And, you know, I think small businesses fail for a number of reasons. But I think a good chunk of that is people that give up. And it’s a bummer, because I think they’re giving up at a period of time where, like, they’re just about to make it. Like they’re just, you know, if you just keep grinding, it’s going to happen. I mean, it took me a lot longer than I thought it would to be, you know, cashflow positive, being able to make some money, several years. And I think most people would have looked at me and thought you’re crazy. For waking up every morning at 4am to work on this business. Isn’t that’s not producing any cash flow, but I believed in it, and here we are.

Ken 20:40
Yeah, absolutely. One other thing, too, is to follow up on that, as you know, usually nothing easy in life is not gonna be fast, right? It’s a grind and it takes time. But it is possible if with hard work. And one other thing too is like, I think that’s something that’s really important is surrounding yourself with like minded positive people. It’s really helps and through the I heard someone say the other day, other day I was called dark years, years, you know, where nothing like you mentioned, cashflow, positive, blah, blah, blah, well, like if you’re not cashflow positive, it can be like a dark year, you just grinding away with nothing in return. But but a lot of things that are you know, worthwhile or profitable, there’s going to be some dark years where you’re going to have to put in that work. And that time, that effort, and then eventually, the light is going to come right like like it’s going to be cashflow positive. So if you surround yourself with like minded positive people that are going to encourage you to push through those tough times, it’s going to be really helpful.

David 21:44
You know, one thing that I think may hold some people back from firing the man is, it’s kind of a built in friend group, or maybe not friends, but like colleagues, human interaction, and, you know, e commerce can be very lonely. And I know, you know, we obviously have the podcast and different masterminds. But what have been some ways that you’ve gotten that, you know, humans are social creatures, like how have you gotten to fill that that void? You know, in terms of like, human interaction?

Ken 22:12
Yeah, absolutely. So the last year has been, you know, 2022 pandemics been a struggle, right? Because I haven’t been able to go to conferences and, and, you know, meetups, like the the St. Louis meetup that you that you orchestrated. So it’s been tough. But I’ve went to a couple of virtual conferences. And, you know, I’ve met a couple of masterminds. And so we’ll do zoom meetups and different online meetups, and then I just have some, you know, friends and peers and the space that I keep in contact with and we reach out monthly bi monthly, just have calls and communicate, hey, what’s working, what’s not how you doing? So yeah, I’ve kind of like switched my inner circle to more of people that I that I that I work with, you know, because you’re right, it is kind of a lonely environment, right? You work, you know, you’re a solopreneur. Or even if you have, you know, people on your team, they’re usually remote. Right? So, yeah, I just, I just, I’m involved in groups, I reach out more, I mean, kind of, I’m an introvert by nature, so I have to kind of force myself to put that stuff on a calendar. And that that really helps me anything that’s on my calendar, I’m going to do that. So if I, if I, if I know I need to do something, I’m like, hey, reach out to so and so schedule a meeting with so and so. So kind of just force yourself to go out. And I would say in 2021 I think we’ll see the the return of some some conferences and events and and that’s a really good way to, to surround yourself with, you know, with other like minded people in the space. And that is huge. Networking is way bigger than then, like I said, I’m an introvert. And I didn’t know the power of networking until about two years ago. And it’s, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Now, I would add one more thing to that there’s a new app called clubhouse. And it’s been kind of a game changer. I you know, I’ve only been on there a couple of weeks now. But it is for the audience who do not know what that is. It’s a it’s basically like a voice chat room. And you have moderators. And you know, they can mute and unmute people. So what you get is like you get really really smart people. And you can go in there and and kind of ask them questions and bounce questions off of them in there. And the groups and the rooms are, are designed by topic, you know, so like the other day I was in a an entrepreneur for you know, mentors and millionaires and things and you know, it’s like daymond, john and Grant Cardone and it’s like, holy crap, you know, and, and kind of listening to basically surrounding yourself with with people in that space. And one one other little bit of advice I heard the other day was kind of it was kind of funny, but very true. I was if you’re not in the trenches, I don’t want your advice. And and I thought that was that really resonated with me because you hear all these gurus and all these people, you know, like, they’re just like, some people are just floating Out advice. And at the end of the day, if you’re not in the trenches doing shit, I don’t want your advice.

David 25:07
Alright, so can your six months out from firing the man? And obviously, you and I are very heavily involved in Amazon in reviews on Amazon, right? Four Star five star review, that’s very important. So there are some, you know, sounds like there’s a lot of positives to being out on your own. There’s also some added risks, right? You don’t have that state steady paycheck coming in, you don’t have the corporation to lean back on as it relates to health insurance. But overall, how would you rate this experience on a one to five star scale,

Ken 25:38
I would say, an easy five, you know, like, nothing’s been more powerful in my life than then knowing that I can take care of myself and my family on my own. Like, that is very powerful. And, you know, one of the one of the things that, that also I draw on is, like, I didn’t just, you know, forget everything that I’ve learned, right? Like, I was in technology for 20 years, and in network engineering, blah, blah, blah, like, that didn’t go away. It’s always there. So like, at the end of the day, you know, it’s like, that makes me even more confident, like so. It’s almost like climbing a mountain, the higher you get, you know, if you don’t, if you don’t like that elevation, you just stepped down a little bit. Right. So, But to answer your question is five stars, one of my only drawbacks, and what you know, maybe one of my only regrets is not doing it sooner, you know, really? Yeah.

David 26:33
How much sooner Do you think you could have done in flourished?

Ken 26:37
So, I mean, I starting my business I should have I should have done that. You know, earlier in my life is one of my was one of my regrets. I like exiting my day job. I, you know, I think you have to put these things in place. So have, you know what we talked about before, but yeah, I should have done it earlier. So if you’re listening to this, you’re debating on. If I want to start a business or not do it, just just do it?

David 27:04
Well, Ken, congratulations, you’re six months in, you haven’t returned to the man, which is a vote of confidence for this path and for the advice that we give on the podcast. So thanks, everyone, for tuning in. And we’ll talk to you next week.

Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s Firing The Man Podcast. If you like this episode, head on over to www.firingtheman.com And check out our resource library for exclusive firing demand discounts on popular e commerce subscription services that is www.firingtheman.com/resource. You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business, or that head on over to www.firingtheman.com/library. Lastly, check us out on social media at Firing The Man on YouTube at Firing The Man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out

Transcribed by https://otter.ai