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How To Succeed in Business… Even If You’re A Millennial

Laura Shin, how to succeed

With Laura Shin, Author of Millennial Game Plan, Career and Money Secrets to Succeed in Today’s World

Laura Shin joins Steve to discuss her book Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy, which addresses the singular issues facing Millennials in today’s job market.

She offers smart tips on how Millennials (those born between the early 1980s and the year 2000 who are now in the 15 to 35 age group and also called Generation Y) can make money and how to succeed in a non-linear world. The book also provides handy pointers on raising capital from alternative sources for entrepreneurial initiatives and boosting salaries by as much as 25%.

The world has changed for college graduates. No longer is it an easy slide from college degree to the workforce, no matter what the sector.  For one, many college grads are not only saddled with an average of $30,000 in debt but, because of under-employment, are often forced to work in positions not commensurate with their education.

Entrepreneurship is often an attractive option for Millennials, but that often means embarking on a “slasher” career. Slashers are basically freelancers who can have one foot in the corporate field and another in the arts, for instance, where they fulfill their life’s passion.

Laura’s book, Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy, also addresses the important skill of negotiation which is especially important for the inexperienced job seeker, and great for those looking for tips on how to succeed. Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy qualifies as the perfect gift for the college grad entering today’s competitive and changing job market.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital.  Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions.  Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.  The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.

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Steve Pomeranz: Hey, Millennials!  I’m talking to you!  If you were born on or after 1980, listen up.  Don’t let a bad job market spoil your goals.  “Find your own way to thrive and forge a career,” so says Laura Shin, author of Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy, in which she systematically lays out the challenges and paths to success in today’s tough market.
Welcome to the show, Laura Shin!

Laura Shin: Thanks for having me.

Steve Pomeranz: It’s been a pretty nasty job market now for a number of years.  I remember the same type of markets occurring when I was that age and in business, trying to make a living.  Are things different this time, do you think, than they were in the ’80s or the ’90s?

Laura Shin: They are in terms of how bad things are but also in terms of the changing nature of opportunities out there.  Some of the things that are more difficult are that student loan debt is at an all-time high.  The average graduate leaves school with $30,000 in debt.  Under-employment is also very high right now.  That’s when graduates work in jobs, or anybody works in a job that doesn’t necessarily require the education they have.

Steve Pomeranz: Right.

Laura Shin: The phenomenon is college graduates working as barristas.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Laura Shin: However, there are a lot of changes happening with advances in technology.  You know, from later chapters in my book, there are new opportunities that are coming around, you know, especially for people with an entrepreneurial sense.  While things definitely are more challenging in certain tried and true paths, like law, which traditionally paid a lot, are kind of struggling a little bit.  There are fresh opportunities out there.  You need to keep your eyes and ears peeled for them.

Steve Pomeranz: Technology has changed the career path for many, whereas once it was start low on the rung of the ladder in a large company, then slowly work your way up.  A lot of those jobs are, perhaps, just not available today.  Companies are merging left and right.  You may have a job like that and find yourself without a job.  It’s a very dynamic economy.
Steve Pomeranz:I think what I’m hearing you say is that what is different this time is the technology and the ability for people to figure things out more on their own and more entrepreneurial.  Want to ask you this question.  Do you think an entrepreneurial is born or is it made?

Laura Shin: I think it’s a little bit of both.  I think what you need to be born with is the kind of personality that is energized by taking risks, can be creative, think out of the box, see opportunities where others don’t, and be comfortable with uncertainty.  These are all things, like I said, they gear more toward your personality than anything you would learn in school.  However, what you can learn, is a part that can be made, is the smarts to make it as an entrepreneur, like constantly learning about the new ways that you might approach your business.  Keeping up with the latest government laws on whatever …  They’re doing these new laws about crowd funding.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Shin: Those kinds of things.  I think it’s a little bit of both.  Especially because things are changing so rapidly, the entrepreneurs who will do best are the ones who do keep up with the times.

Steve Pomeranz: Someone, for example, that is in a position that they’re working in.  They’re working 9 to 5.  They’re part of the corporate structure.  There was one example in your book where this woman noticed that a friend of hers was complaining about some hospital scrubs that she was wearing.  She kind of redesigned them a little bit.  They created demand.  Then she was able to start a company.  Look for these opportunities.  Be on alert for these opportunities.  Things don’t always go in a straight line.  It may take your life in a completely different path.  Be aware.  Keep the look-out for opportunities.

Laura Shin: Yeah.  One thing I want to add to that story is, not only did she jump on the opportunity when she heard about it, but she found a unique way to fund her project, which is this thing called the Self IPO, which is extremely new.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.  Let’s talk about that.  Tell us what that is.

Laura Shin: Basically, it’s when people accept a certain amount of investment up front from accredited investors, which are people who have a certain net worth or make a certain amount of money a year.
Then, in exchange for that investment, they will pay those investors a certain percentage of their income for, you know, like the next 5 years or the next 10 years.  The terms depend on how much money they take up front.  This woman was really smart.  First of all, actually, there are two sites that are pretty popular for doing this.  One is called Pave.  The other is called Upstart.  They don’t have a lot of people who are doing this yet.  It can be risky.  It can be expensive capital.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Shin: What she did was she leveraged $20,000 in investment as a way to generate more investment for her start-up scrub company.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Shin: What she did was she chose backers who eventually introduced her to other people who were interested in investing in the company itself.

Steve Pomeranz: Now, you mentioned Upstart.  What was the first website you mentioned?

Laura Shin: The other one is called Pave.

Steve Pomeranz: P – a – v – e?

Laura Shin: Yeah.

Steve Pomeranz: Pave.  Okay.

Laura Shin: Like paving a road.  Yeah.

Steve Pomeranz: All right.  The idea is, basically, she’s paying a royalty on her future income.  Would you put it that way?

Laura Shin: I guess you could say it that way, yeah.

Steve Pomeranz: If, for example, she’s borrowing or getting $20,000,  she’s willing to pay 1% the year that she makes $200,000, that’s $2,000.  An investor would get their money back in 10 years.  Plus, if her income grows, there’s an opportunity for growth for the investor. This is a Self IPO.  This is really, really new.  I don’t think many people are doing it yet.  There are pros and cons.  It’s another example of the kind of creativity that’s going on now that technology has created.  You have a chapter entitled “How to Make Money.”  It took be aback.  It’s so straightforward.  It was a little jarring to me.  You know, this idea of how to make money.  How does this generation make the money they’re going to need in order to accumulate savings and take care of the ones they love?  How do you go about this process in today’s new world of making money?

Laura Shin: The number one most important career skill that people can pick up is to learn how to negotiate.  There are two main times in your life when you’ll be negotiating your salary or your raise. One is when you’re starting a new job.  That’s actually the best time to increase your income, to give it a real big boost, something in the order of 25% or 30% or whatever it might be.  The reason is, at that moment in time, the company has given you the offer.  They want you to come.  You are in a more advantageous position at that moment.  You know, they’ve said, “I want you.” All you have to say is, “Well, I’ll come if you give me a certain amount.” Obviously, you wouldn’t say it in that way.  If you do it in the right way, talking about what you’ll bring to the company, like how much you promise to generate in sales when you get there.  If you give them concrete numbers and make them excited about having you, they’re not going to quibble over the extra whatever how many grand it is that you want.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.  Yeah.

Laura Shin: That’s an important skill.  The other time when you’ll be negotiating is for raises.  If that falls through, generally that would be pegged to performance goals at your job.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Shin: You would say, “I plan to do X amount by July.  If I meet that goal, I’d love to talk about a 10% raise.” Whatever it might be.  If you get your boss on board and not only meet your goals, but surpass them, then most likely they would follow through.

Steve Pomeranz: I think that if a company is hiring you and they’ve been through a complete vetting process and you have a lot of experience and they want you, I think that may be a good platform to negotiate.  I think that if a company is just trying you out and has a probation period and they’re just starting out, I think that would be a very weak thing to stand on, to start negotiating for a higher rate.  Unless it truly didn’t meet your minimum needs, in order for you to live your life.  Don’t have time to really get into that.  Wanted to throw my opinion in there.  What are slasher careers?

Laura Shin: Those are becoming more common now.  A lot of companies are switching from hiring full-time and hiring people more for contract work.  Also, people themselves are more interested in pursuing jobs they love.  They don’t want to do the corporate thing.  What a lot of people are doing is taking up a number of freelance gigs.  Sometimes, they can all be in the same fields.  I’m actually a portfolio career person, or a slasher.  As a freelance writer, I have multiple publications that I write for.  Some other people actually are slashers across fields.  For instance, I used to not only do journalism but also teach yoga.  There are some lawyers who also run cooking classes.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Laura Shin: Anything where your job can be first one position slash, a second position, that makes you a slasher.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.  You know what?  I was interested in this.  I wrote down my own series of slashes.  Investment Advisor/radio show host/musician/non-profit manager, director, board president.  Those are my slashes at the moment. Laura, what are your slashes?

Laura Shin: Like I said, I’m just all about writing.  My slash I guess is just that I do it for several different outlets.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay.  My guest Laura Shin, the author of Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy.  If you’re of the age or someone you love is in that age and they’re struggling and trying to find their way, this is a wonderful book to give to them or to get.  Millennial Game Plan: 6 Secrets to Succeed in Today’s Economy.
Thanks for joining us, Laura.

Laura Shin: Thanks for having me.