SelfInformed

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SelfInformed - November 2021

In this issue, read about 5 reasons to be thankful for self-employment, medaling in self-employment and the full plate of legislative activity before the end of the year.

5 Reasons to be Thankful for Self-Employment

Thanksgiving is an occasion to reflect on all the things in our  lives for which  we’re grateful, and share that gratitude for the people who  have helped to make it all possible. This year,  as small  business owners adapt to great economic and social  challenges posed by the pandemic, the National Association for the Self- Employed (NASE) offers five big reasons you can be thankful for self-employment.

1. You are your own boss.
Even in tough economic times, independence is one of the biggest blessings of owning a small  business. Being your  own  boss means every bit of work  you do is for yourself.

You own your own time. No one tells you what to do, and no one places limits on your potential. Your time is your  own,  and that means your  earnings are  your  own,  too. With that freedom comes the responsibility of being self-motivated, of course, but it also means the sky’s the limit.

You define your  skillset. When you work  for yourself, you own  your  intellectual property and talents. You also  define what those talents are, both by honing your  professional skills and by recognizing the strength of “real world” experience beyond formal education.

You call the shots. What’s more, being your  own boss means you make the rules. No dress code, no timecard, no requests for vacation days. When you’re working on the clock for someone else, important family events and even basic self-care take second place to the demands of the company. Working for yourself means putting your  priorities in proper order.

You can take risks. If you believe in yourself and your  vision,  that’s  the key to making it happen. No supervisors and bosses and boards to convince, no begging for budgeting and buy-in;  if you want to make it happen, just  roll up your  sleeves and get to work. Whether you’re a freelancing contractor or a small shopkeeper, building a small business on your  own terms is empowering and liberating. There’s  a lot to be thankful about when it comes to being in charge of your  life.

2. You have amazing customers.
When you’re working for someone else,  you may find yourself dealing with prickly clientele who, through no fault  of your  own,  see you in adversarial terms. Tough client relations are  a regular source of stress among workers in sales, customer service representatives, and retail. What’s worse, when relations do go sideways between a business and client,  it’s often employees – not  the boss – who  end up bearing the brunt of a customer’s dissatisfaction. Friction  like that isn’t just bad for your  career. It’s bad for your  health.

You decide who to work with: While a small business owner can’t prevent all friction between themselves and their clients, they have a lot more control over  who  they take on as clients in the first place. Freelancing and small  business contracts are  about mutual agreements, not  compulsion. Clients  choose you, and you also  choose them. Choosing your  own clients can  head burnout off before it ever sets in.

Value-based, respectful relationships: You can build  your  business on your  own ethics and goals, and take on clients (and  vendors) that align with your  vision. As a result, a small  business relationship is a lot more like a partnership. Independent businesses often develop long-lasting, respectful relationships with their customers forged on collaboration, loyalty,  and trust.

Variety of services: Another plus  in the clientele of a small  business is project variety. Your business from day-to-day is built around the custom needs of your  clients. That means less  monotony and more engaging work!

3. Your work-life  balance is (really) realizable.
In the past couple of years, millions of Americans joined the ranks of the work-from-home workforce to find a mixed bag  of positives and negatives.

For some, the overly  long office meetings were replaced with overly  long emails and Zoom calls. Some appreciated cutting the commute out  of their day, while others just filled that extra time up with more work.  Some enjoyed spending more time with their family; others were overwhelmed with the needs of homebound school-age children. Some simply  found they missed the social  aspect of the workplace.

One  thing that’s  clear from the pandemic’s massive work-from-home social  experiment is this: If you’re not  working for yourself, you’re not  enjoying as many advantages of remote work  as the self- employed and small  business person.

The much vaunted “work-life balance” is more realizable when both aspects – work  and life – are actually under your  control.

Being self-employed means being the master  of your own schedule. For the independent business owner, working from home means getting up and walking  away from the computer screen when you need it. It might also  mean working early  in the morning or in the evening, when it’s most convenient for you and the rest of your  family.

Work from home – or not! Flexibility can  also mean working away  from home. Maybe that means an office, and maybe that means taking your  work on the road.

Take your show on the road. In fact, small businesses are  increasingly experimenting with the delivery model of service that once was  the domain of plumbers and pizza places. Now, accountants, financial advisors, beauticians, and others are making house calls.

Bon voyage! Beyond your  own  community, self- employed people have almost unlimited mobility. The internet allows  us to find clients all over  the world, and do work all over  the world. For you, that might mean the coffeeshop a short walk your home. It might also  mean the coffeeshop a short walk from the beach.

4. You determine your own future. Beyond the independence of day-to-day work, a small  business grants you the possibility of determining your  own  future. Working for yourself means carving out  your  own  career path and even creating the foundations for a business that your family will carry  on after you’re gone.

You’re in charge. To be sure, there are  risks. Nothing is guaranteed in self-employment: no one is putting money away  and planning for your retirement but  you. But unfortunately, playing it safe with payroll employment doesn’t always translate into secure retirement, either. Millions of workers have dedicated decades to companies that have turned around and yanked retirement pensions out  from under them. A small business owner plans for their future with clear eyes about their own  responsibilities, relying only on themselves.

No regrets. Working for yourself is about pursuing your  passions in your  active working life, not delaying them until you’re all done with work.

Self-employment means you never look back  and regret a chance you didn’t take.

5. You have help.
When you launch your  own  independent business, it can  feel like you’re stepping into unknown territory. But you aren’t alone.

Local resources: Your local business development center, small  business and trade associations, and other small  business owners are  right  there with you. They offer  a wealth of wisdom that will help you find low-cost vendors, small  business loans, and other invaluable connections.

National resources: Beyond your  community, resources like the federal Small Business Administration (at sba.gov) and NASE are  focused on answering your questions and connecting you with business support. NASE membership includes 24/7 access to experts to answer questions about taxes, law, accounting, and more. Learn more at nase.org.

Show gratitude for the little  things. Your friends, family, and community are  also there to cheer you on, support your  decisions, and watch you thrive. This Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on all the ways  your  social  support system has helped you grow  your  business. It’s not  always flashy.  Because they come from the heart, some of the most meaningful forms of support can  almost escape your attention.

Advocates come in many forms. Maybe you have friends who  share your  social  media posts. Maybe you’ve got a few golden customers who  praise your services and send new  business your  way.

Or maybe your  spouse or kids have taken over some of the household chores you used to do so that you can  focus more on growing your  business in the evenings. The little things that our  loved  ones do every day add up. On this  Thanksgiving, take stock of these blessings and show your  gratitude.


Medaling In Self- Employment

Lealem worked at NASA as the Project/Lead Scientist of NASA’s Digital Astronaut Project (DAP) where he directed a highly multidisciplinary and cross-functional team of scientists and engineers to develop and apply novel  technologies to analyze and mitigate the health and performance risks  of astronauts. He collaborates with the National Institute of Health (NIH), Food  and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Defense and several other governmental, academic and private institutions to translate his unique technical expertise to enable precision healthcare and explore the boundaries of human performance.

As a byproduct of his endeavors, he has published over  100 journal and conference articles and presentations. His education background consists of a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical-Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Science in Space Studies with a concentration in human spaceflight. He is also  a former competitive gymnast, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified Mental Coach (CMC), USA Gymnastics Coach, Firearms Instructor and an Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diver.

He founded Medalist Performance™ to translate his many years of experience in spaceflight, biomedical research, engineering, athletics and coaching to develop and administer individualized peak performance programs for astronauts, athletes, tactical operators and ambitious corporate professionals. He is also  one of the few gymnastic coaches in the country that offers specialized adult gymnastics classes to help people develop superior core strength, balance, body awareness, flexibility and power Like A Gymnast™.

When and why did you join the NASE?
Throughout my academic and professional pursuits, I clearly  understood for a person or business to have longevity in an aggressively competitive global market, it is crucial  to consistently demonstrate high  value to the market. Consequently, when I decided to establish Medalist Performance, I knew I had to keep this  lesson at the forefront of my business model. When the pandemic hit, I knew I needed to associate with like-minded organizations to increase my chances of survival. In my search for such entities, NASE kept on coming up as a reputable organization small  business owners should be affiliated with. So, in September 2021, I made the logical decision to become a member of NASE.

What  inspired you  to enter the field you are in?
Medalist Performance is really  a by-product of my life-long  experiences and pursuits.

Growing up in Ethiopia amid poverty and illness, I was  consumed by visions of moving to North America where I could live out  my dreams of becoming a gymnast, working at the cutting edge of space exploration and healthcare, and much more. Unfortunately, I often found very few people were as optimistic or supportive of my dreams. Even fewer had the knowledge or desire to guide me.  But that did not  deter me.  There were many struggles along the way, but  I accomplished and continue to achieve many of my ambitions. After my tenure at NASA ended in 2015,  I formed Medalist Performance to use my life-long  experiences and scientific expertise to give people what I didn’t have; a systematic  and scientifically informed process  to pursue and realize their ambitions.

When and why did you start your business?
I established Medalist Performance in 2016  with a clear goal to serve people by helping them achieve physical, physiological, and mental peak performance. Not just  to help them realize the best version of themselves, but  also  to teach them how  to live out their ambitions and be great assets to society.

It is in the same spirit  I decided to use Medalist Performance to launch the Medalist Scholars™ award to recognize and support individuals who clearly  demonstrate a drive  to be the best of our  society.

How do you market your business?
Given the unique niche market Medalist Performance serves, traditional marketing methods have proven to be ineffective. Therefore, I invested substantial time and resources in the R&D of a proprietary workflow that generates “self- sustaining” business. But broadly speaking, virtually all business generated is from referrals or personal interactions. There is nothing more powerful than genuine relationships when it comes to developing one’s  business reputation.

What challenges have you faced in your business?
The biggest obstacle has been getting people to understand the difference between Peak Performance coaching, and personal/fitness training. This was  especially a problem when I used the legal name of the company “Medalist Fitness LLC” in conjunction with traditional marketing strategies. I was  losing  a lot of time and money filtering out  poorly matched clients who  were seeking help with their broad fitness needs. Once I realized this, I rebranded to Medalist Performance, and shifted to a closed network marketing strategy that specifically targeted my core target audience: active or aspiring astronauts, athletes, executives and tactical operators. I also  carefully screen every client  to ensure we are  a good fit for each other. This made my work  more fulfilling and improved revenue noticeably.

Do you have any employees?
I currently do not  have employees. I have hired my student-athlete clients as interns in the past, and I plan to continue using this  mechanism to find full and part time employees within the next two years.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day for you?
This is always a difficult  question to answer because I don’t have a typical  day. One  day I might be in an unconventional environment with SWAT or military operators. Another day may  be at a gymnastics competition or training facility. There are  also  days I am  working with executives in their homes or corporations. There are  times I am  at government agencies speaking on research topics I’m invited to contribute to. I also  spend time working with remote clients of all varieties via virtual coaching portal. The only common thread among all these activities is I get to work  with people who  are striving to be the very best in their respective endeavors.

What’s the best thing about being self- employed?
The best part about being self-employed is the liberty to do what I love while being compensated fairly and genuinely thanked by my clients. It’s priceless! I truly feel like I’m living my calling.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
This is a very difficult  question to answer because I’ve been so blessed to serve clients who  truly appreciate what I do. But if I had to pick one that resonates across many of my clients, it would be the following: "Thanks  Coach!  Your influence on me  has been life changing. I have learned a lot about myself from this  whole experience and it has translated to other areas of my life. I am  forever grateful for all your  hard work  and patience with me  through this  process. It is rare when we come across those who  can  change the course of our  lives and I am so thankful that I have you.” -B. Smith,  SWAT and Physique Athlete

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
You must ensure you’re bringing value to the market. It is not  enough to offer  a product and service people need. It is important to show you genuinely care by going  the extra mile for your clients. Especially if you’re attempting to bring something novel  to the market.


Full Plate Of Legislative Activity Before The End Of The Year

The U.S. Congress is working on a full plate of legislative activity before the end of the year, including two major pieces of the Administration’s Build Back Better agenda introduced earlier this year. As part of that legislative package, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, often referred to as the bipartisan infrastructure bill focuses primarily on “hard infrastructure” such as roads, bridges and physical infrastructure. This bill passed through Congress on Friday, November 5th  and President Biden  has signed this  major government investment into  our  nation’s infrastructure into  law.

The second major piece of legislation is the Build Back Better Act, a “soft infrastructure” package, which  would be a major investment and restructuring of the U.S. tax code to boost spending on a multitude of issues ranging from lowering of prescription drug prices to early  childhood education. Last month, the White  House and Congress agreed to a framework that would guide the legislation. While the House has passed its version, the Senate will now  consider its own.

Together, they represent both a physical and human investment in infrastructure in the United States.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs  Act
Both  the U.S. Senate and House approved the legislation with bipartisan support. The $1.2 trillion  package includes $550  billion in new federal investments in infrastructure over  five years, representing the largest, new  investment in transportation and infrastructure in nearly half a century.

The package includes new  funding for roads and bridges, money for transit and rail, broadband upgrade to improve the nation’s broadband infrastructure, updating airports, ports and waterways, funding for electric vehicles, improvements in power and water systems, and paves the way for increased environmental remediation.

The president has signed the legislation into  law.

You can  read NASE’s press release here.
You can  read more about the bill here.

The Build Back Better Act
The House just  passed its measure, but  negotiations will continue as it now  goes to the Senate for its consideration. The House bill’s current version contains spending on several programs over  10 years, including childcare assistance, extension of the child tax credit, paid family and medical leave, expanded access to home care for the elderly and those with disabilities, Medicare expansion, reductions in health care premiums and prescription drugs, and climate change provisions.

The Senate now  will follow-up with consideration of its own  version of the bill by the end of the year. Once it passes the Senate, both chambers will convene a conference committee to reconcile the two versions and then each would, again, need to vote  to approve the conference version.

If approved, it would go the president’s desk for his anticipated signature.
You can  read about what is in the current House package here.

Proposed New IRS Reporting Requirements
The IRS recently released new  tax information reporting rules that would require every American with a bank account (including those in the small  business community) to track  and submit information to the IRS on money going  in and out of every account above a de minimis threshold of $600  during the year. While the goal of the new rule is intended to target tax dodgers, it is not  only costly,  but  cumbersome to meet. It would impose unintended consequences on small  employers in the operation of their businesses.

The NASE joined a coalition of trade associations in signing a letter of opposition to this  proposed new reporting rule  sent to members of Congress and the president. The proposal is costly  and unfair for our  community, and we strongly oppose this  new reporting regime.

You can  read the letter to Congress here and to the president here.


Courtesy of NASE.org
https://www.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/selfinformed?issue=november-2021