From News Anchor to Business Owner: A Journey to Financial Freedom – Lynn Smith: NYN E3 Transcription:
Welcome to the name your numbers show presented by the investor mindset. We're on a mission to create financial freedom for over a million investors. And when you name your number, the number that you want to earn passively every single month, that creates your ultimate quality of life, then I believe you've achieved real freedom. If you're ready to name your number, and create your passive investment plan that you'll follow step by step to get you there, then head over to investor mindset.com/number. To download the free guide to get started. And for those of you who are ready to build this plan together with me and a community of other investors just like you, you'll be invited to schedule a call with one of my top advisors see if you're a fit. Now let's get into the show. today. I'm excited to have Lynn Smith on the show. How're you doing today, Lynn?
Lynn Smith 1:57
I'm doing great, Thanks for having me.
Steven Pesavento 2:00
I'm excited to get in because you've built a heck of a business you spent 15 years as a news anchor today show NBC News, MSNBC CNN and I'm sure many others along the way she today you're advising leaders how to develop and craft compelling messages for media and how to be able to do that much better. So we'll talk about some of those strategies. Before we get into any of that. I'd love to start on more of a personal note by looking back earlier in your life. What events or influences from your childhood shaped you are today? And how did that play a role in your money journey?
Lynn Smith 2:43
I love that question. Because, you know, it started from my very earliest days with my father being an immigrant, he fled Ukraine when he was an infant. And he spent four years in a bomb shelter in Germany, they came to Long Island, New York, you know, into Ellis Island. And he was told when he was graduating from high school that he wasn't smart enough to go to college, he should become a carpenter, like his father. And instead he got a scholarship to Pratt went on to get a master's at MIT and Cornell, a doctorate at Cornell. And he went on to be a very successful executive at American Electric Power, and then ultimately the Assistant Secretary of Energy. And I have that as my goalpost of what you can achieve, which is truly anything. When you have the right mindset. And there is no, no that I'm told ever that I can't turn into a yes.
Steven Pesavento 3:40
That is so powerful, because from that place, you can do anything. There's no limitations, when you go into it from that view, how has that served you as you've built your career and now built your business?
Lynn Smith 2:43
Well, I was a news anchor. So I was told no, a lot. I was also, I was also told, you know, you're not this enough. You're not that enough. And I now and I coach people this when you're told no, take it as fuel for your fire. It's just that you're one step closer to your Yes. So anytime I was told, you know, you're not ready for the anchor desk yet. Okay, sit down, watch this. Let me go show you how I'm ready for it. I'll come back, I'll ask for it again. And now as I built my business, there have been lots of perceived failures along the way, right, lots of trip ups or a course launch that didn't go well, or whatever that perceived failure is that I tell people, that's actually exciting. Because when that happens, you're one step closer to your big payday the number that you do want, and it hasn't really proven me wrong. And the you know, I've only had my company now. It's going on two years in June. And you know, that's why we were able to be successful in the first year because we never looked at anything as a failure. We looked at it as a lesson. And if you switch that word up, like I'm afraid of failure to I'm afraid of lessons, you're really able To see how ridiculous it is that we look at that as something we're afraid of.
Steven Pesavento 5:03
Yeah, I love that it really is all about the lessons you take away, because that's what continues to get you to be able to move forward closer to whatever it is that you're looking to create in your life. So, you know, you're in a position now, where you were a news anchor, you recently launched and have had a lot of success in your business. Talk to me about where you're at along your financial freedom journey. And is that even a goal that you're you're shooting for?
Lynn Smith 5:29
Sure, who doesn't want to name their number and be able to have financial freedom, I think that's all you know, that's considered success, I'm still on that journey. I'm early in my business, it's two years, we were able to be a six figure business and a profitable business within that first year with just me on payroll. And that tells me it's the right business to be in, I tested different offerings, what I My goal is to be able to have one of those offerings, Evergreen, so that's the financial freedom that everyone's looking for, that we can take ourselves out of the sales process. And so yeah, that's something that I've had a lot of success with learning how to do, and now we're working on implementing it.
Steven Pesavento 6:08
Yeah, I love that too. Because when you really create something that's an asset, right, you put all this time, effort, energy and creating an asset. And then once you can really get that to sell itself and you got a team who can do it, you're fairly semi passive in that endeavor. Now, really, it's still an active business, because you've got to go and promote it and be the face and all these things. But from that place, when you've got income coming into your business every day, and you know, you can rely on it, and it's not based on some new sale, that has to happen on a big product, your business is so much more secure. And that's really what business owners need to be able to go out and try new things and be able to grow in different ways. Have you found that?
Lynn Smith 6:50
Yeah, I mean, it's kind of like your W2 without having to do any work, right? It's your security, it's the paycheck, you know, that's gonna cash. So it's a no brainer. I think a lot of people get hung up on overcomplicating what, that evergreen offering or what that flow of income that's going to be coming in every month can be I think they're trying so many different things. They're throwing so many different things at the wall hoping one thing will stick. And sometimes you can overextend, because you're not focusing on one thing enough?
Steven Pesavento 7:17
Yeah, without enough focus, you're not going to be able to get the feedback those lessons. And no, was it my approach was that the industry was at this because you're trying so many things, that it's kind of blurring because you don't have enough of that industry insider knowledge of experience doing that one thing. So talk to us about how did you decide to build the business that you're building right now? What led you to that point of saying, Yes, this is my money making activity that I'm going to do to make and earn money in my business?
Lynn Smith 7:48
by failing. And that's the overarching theme here. You know, I knew when I was getting out of the news business, which I did so because I felt more of a problem than a solution, I felt journalism had changed dramatically. And I wanted to reverse the model where I took the skills that I use to turn the camera into my crutch, right? Like my job as a news anchor was to be able to talk to you at home and look into that camera, and you feel like you know, me, and you connect to me, because I have that relationship with the lens. That's a skill set. So I knew if I taught what I had as a skill set, but I did it for people who wanted to make an impact, and then help them get on TV, we could change that piece of journalism, even if it's just one segment, that people that are getting on and have an important story to tell. So it's teach, which, you know, that was my method. That was what I what I tried to do, I spent a lot of time creating a program that I launched to crickets. And it was a self paced course online. And it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, because I realized I was doing the wrong thing I wasn't supposed to be, you know, talking into the camera and watching having people watch videos, I needed to really workshop this with individuals. So I went to one on one coaching which got too difficult to manage, because there were too many people. So we turned it into group coaching, which is what I have now called the Green Room. And the green room is the media training with a you know group of people that now we're going to turn into evergreen, where you if you can't do the live group coaching, you're watching the live masterminds just recorded. So you're the fly on the wall, and then you get one hour of live coaching, where I'm going to, you know, get you to the mock interviews that we can get you on TV. So once I saw that that model was what people wanted. They wanted to see that coaching, I adjusted and I pivoted and I think that's so key in business, you get so married to your idea that you're not willing to let it fail. Sometimes it has to fail so that you can get to what your most successful product is going to be.
Steven Pesavento 9:47
Yeah, it's so true. So many people are so afraid of failing that they won't try and they won't take it as new information to go out and do something different.
So I love that and what I'm really interested in understanding is you know, you were in your in a career for a long time. And then you've you've stepped out, you've taken that big risks to really take control and ownership of your life, build a business, help more people change the conversation. What is that vision of the life that you're creating? What is that really about? What do you want to do? Once you get to that point of knowing that your income is meeting and able to fuel all of those goals? What does that look like for you?
Lynn Smith 10:31
Yeah, I don't think I'm very different from my dad who didn't retire really still isn't retired. And there's never going to be a point where I say, Okay, I'm done. I'm just gonna go travel. I'm also a mom to two small kids. So part of my financial freedom and what drives that is to be able to have more time with my children. I think a lot of women right now are experiencing that. That's what happened with the great resignation, a lot of people saying I want financial freedom. So I can be the parent that I want to be men and women, I have actually had people come to me and keynotes who have said, you know, I didn't want to be on the grind of just constantly in meetings, I want to do my own thing, so that I can be the family person that I want to be. And so that's, that's a question that I don't think I ever want to answer. I don't want to say what's the end game, I don't want to know what the end game is. I'm really excited about everything in between. And the most important thing to me about the financial freedom is to be able to be more present with my family.
Steven Pesavento 11:26
Well, I totally get that. I think the the end game, there's always another level, there's always a new vision. And so when I think of ultimate vision, it's like, what is the perfect life that you're living? How do you spend your time? Who are you spending with my personal vision, you know, there's many people on here who they want to retire, they want to just spend time with their family who want to work a couple hours a week, I'm, you know, I'm on a mission to impact a million people and help them get financially free, there's no need for me to ever end doing that, because I love doing it. I'm a lot like you. But there is pieces of that, that I see that I'm like, Okay, well, you know, each of these different levels along the way towards getting closer to that place, or just new experiences that I get to enjoy. And so what I'm really hearing from you is it's, you know, you want to be able to take back that time, so that you can spend it with your family when you want to, and still be able to go out and be on this trajectory to, you know, make an impact on the world and the way that you're doing it now. And maybe as that'll evolve over time.
Lynn Smith 12:30
That's exactly right. I think if I could equate anything to financial freedom, it's freedom of time. And there's nothing we that, that the price of that is, you know, we can't even put a number on it. It's just that's what we're all trying to seek is more time for what makes us happy.
Steven Pesavento 12:45
And it's interesting, because so many people actually do place a number on that, whether they do it consciously, right. It's that hourly rate of how much they're earning and salary to go and do their job or that hourly rate, and how much they earn in their business by managing and executing and doing all of those things. It is a decision. But I think the the levels that we step from, from being an employee, to being a business owner to being an investor, and you can skip the business owner right to investor, no problem. But each of those along the way gives you more control. And I think the other thing it gives you is it gives you the ability to leverage your time so that you're actually making a lot more per hour because I would imagine the work that you do with your clients today probably pays you way better than the work you're doing when you are an anchor is that right?
Lynn Smith 13:34
My first year of business, I made more than I did as a news anchor ever did as a news anchor. Yes, yeah. And I was doing it for 15 years. And you know, that's also attributed to multiple streams of income. You know, when you're W2 you can't have side hustles, usually at least I was a contract employee. So you couldn't have that. So having multiple streams of income has been transformational for my business. I'm a coach. I'm also a podcast host, I'm a keynote speaker, I'm a writer. And being able to have those multiple streams of income is is the essential key to what if one of those bucket buckets dries up in the recession? You got something to back it up? Yeah. How have you gone about setting the targets for yourself? In other words, like what income or exit targets are you working towards? That you'll know Hey, I'm getting closer and closer to this life that I'm creating. Yeah, every quarter, I set a monthly number, just like you know what this podcast is all about. But a monthly number. I follow. I don't know if you've read the book profits first. I am very diligent about following that methodology. I think it's brilliant. I'm a big numbers person and also a big visual person. So behind my camera right here. I've got a huge whiteboard that says growth plan 2023 quarter one, and every quarter I'm going to that growth plan and I'm getting every single bucket and I'm putting a number to every single bucket of what I Want, and it keeps me accountable. And I think that, you know, there is no disappointment when I don't hit that number, there's just more drive to hit it the next quarter.
Steven Pesavento 15:08
Yeah. So I really liked that you have a monthly active income number that you've set, you're working towards it that's fueling your business, you're learning from what you're saying, hey, what worked? What didn't work? Passive income, something that is kind of new for you. So if you were to look at that passive income number, do you have anything set? And if not, we can talk about how you actually go about doing that?
Lynn Smith 15:32
Yes, will you give me some insight, what my goal is to have some funding where I can then look at some passive income, specifically, maybe some rental properties, where we, you know, that's the, you know, and I know, that's what really interested me about you, is, it's a no brainer, you know, to be able to have two or three properties, where it, here's the thing about that, and this is I think, what trips up a lot of entrepreneurs, when you don't know this space, well, you start to get nervous Yeah, I know, TV. I know, this world. So I'm never going to feel like I'm gonna get tripped up I know of, you know, client asked me a question, there's no question that can stumped me. But when you get into a world that you aren't as knowledgeable on, you start to get a little nervous, not fearful, but a little nervous.
Steven Pesavento 16:26
It's the feeling that so many people have, and it's the reason they don't move from where they're at. They're in their safe cave, they know that they're in their cave, maybe they know that life is better, there's sunshine, there's nutrients, there's food, and they've gone outside of the cave a little bit, but they're not really sure where to go. And it's scary. So until they really have somebody that can follow in their footsteps, or they start learning the knowledge and taking the small steps to have those little wins along the way, where all of a sudden, they realize like, wow, there's been a house right out front the entire time I could have moved in, could have set up shop. And it's just about getting to know the right people. Because just like you in your, in your business, right? You're an expert at media, if somebody wants to do media, and they want to learn how to do it, well, they want to talk to you. And I think the same needs to be true when it comes to investing. One of the things that I think a lot of people get tripped up on as well as they think, hey, I want to go on some real estate, or I want to go on this investment, and I'm gonna go buy it, and operate it, and I'm gonna have to figure out if it's a good deal or not, I'm gonna have to manage it. And what you're really doing is you're buying another job. Now the benefit of it is that you probably make a better return. If you do it really, really well, then, if you were to have somebody else do it for you. But the trade off is that you actually make a much better return. When you find someone who's as much an expert in their craft as yours, you learn enough to be able to know whether they're actually the expert, whether their vision and values aligns with you, and have an actual investment plan to know, well, if I do these five strategies for the next five years, then I'm going to be able to get here then. Or maybe I just need to do it this year, and I'm there, or maybe it's going to take me 10 years, because my balance sheet just isn't quite there. That's where you really start to unlock freedom. Because when you invest passively, you essentially are partnering with an operator's what we call them, you're partnering with this business, that their job is to go find, fund and manage the property. And your job is to write a check. Now before you write the check, you just need to make sure hey, is this actually the kind of thing that I believe in that I think is going to do well? Do I trust these people, and the great thing about it is typically people get 60 to 80% or more of the profit when they're the check writer, right? The investor makes the most money. But the operator wants to do that because it allows them to scale and build a bigger business. And the money that the operator invests in is then compounded. So it's a really cool place to be when you set your passive income target. We get into more detail in the name your number of program, how to do this at the different tiers, but the simplest version, I would ask you the question, what is your current monthly expenses? How much do you spend every month to live today like with your current lifestyle today?
Lynn Smith 19:28
Is my husband going to be listening to this? Does it Include the credit cards, I keep from him no, I'm just kidding. Yeah, I mean, I think that we you know, when you look at that number of what your expenses are, right, like you separate your business expenses from your personal expenses. And you know, I think as far as naming your number, it's what do you want that number to be? You know what I would love? I think that would I would love that number to be is 50,000 a month, right? Like let's let's go for 50,000 a month, then let's go for 75 Then let's go for 100.
Steven Pesavento 20:00
And this is exactly why you don't do that, because you're setting a goal that has really no direct connection emotionally to you needing to be able to hit it. And instead, if you stair step your way towards success, the same way you're doing in business, where you figure out, let's just say, for example, you're spending $20,000 a month to live, maybe you're spending 40, many clients are spending more, some are spending less, let's say you're at 20,000 a month, well, we can very easily say that, hey, well, once you hit 20,000 of passive income, then we're able to get you into a place where now all of your expenses are covered by something else, that means everything you earn in your business is extra, right? Now, if we're doing it very simply, I would double that number, right? If you're spending 20,000 a month, I would say double it, that's 40, that's a bigger number than I would aim for is the first target. But it really depends on where you're at. So let's just go with that 20,000. And this is why it's really valuable to have a realistic number, because you start seeing that you're actually so much closer than you think. And there's still an ultimate number like, you know, I talked with a phenomenal guest. And his number was, you know, wanting to have 3 million a year 3.3 million. And he thought, Hey, I gotta have $85 million of investable assets to get there. And by backing into it, we actually realized you need a lot less, a lot less. And so we get realistic on the number, we can still have this ultimate goal that brings us a far place. But what's cool about that 20,000 Number is that if you're creating a 10% rate of return, and believe me, I can show you a lot of ways that you can create a much higher rate of return, I can show you ways to create a lower rate of return 10 is just a nice even number.
To get 20,000 a month, you only need 2.4 million of investable assets that you then invest into something that creates you 10%. And in that 10% Number, I'm not talking about upside, I'm not talking about anything else, I'm just talking income. So it's over simplified. But what's cool about that is most people can at least see oh, it's possible for me to be able to get there, right? Like, oh, that's far off. But I can see that at some point in the future, I could get there. But then when you're shown another example, where you're like, hey, I don't have that kind of money. Today, I want to grind out my business, I'm gonna save money I'm gonna invest. If you just took 300,000 today, and you invested in something that doubles every three years, which is very doable, sometimes it could be five,
and a doubles, you go from 300 to 600, in three years, then you go from 600 to 1.2, in, in six, and then at year nine, you're at 2.4. So legitimately one investment compounded over nine years invested in the right type of private equity, the right type of investment could be anything will get you in that position without investing another dollar. And so if you're making a lot of money in your business, you can see that how you can actually take that money. And you can continue to reinvest every year, shorten that timeline, or maybe you have a maybe you have an investment account with 2.4 million edits a day, and and then some and you're like, boom, I want to be passive income free now. And so from that place, can you see how much different it is how much more achievable? It feels than kind of a number that's, you know, big and dreamy and, like, the big thing that we all want to reach towards?
Lynn Smith 23:39
Yeah, isn't it kind of like what keeps us on the hamster wheel when we have that big number? Because we're just always constantly moving the goalposts and trying to get bigger and bigger and bigger, rather than looking at it a little bit more on the micro and saying, listen, start from the where you are now and then continuously build. So yeah, want to manage my money?
Steven Pesavento 24:01
Maybe Maybe we can, we can definitely talk more about it. I think there's some education that we need to really work through first, so that you really understand how this stuff works, so that you're making the individual investment decisions that are happening. But there's a process for doing that. It doesn't have to be super complex. But that's the difference. Right? The whole financial industry is designed for somebody else to be in charge of doing everything. And most people are kind of just turned off from it. But those people don't even know what they're doing with their own money, right because they don't know the strategies because it's usually reserved for the ultra wealthy. But back to your business and the business that you're creating. You're on this path. You've got a clear product that you're selling. You're growing you're finding that product market fit. What did it feel like to look back after two years of running your business to be able to see wow, I left being a media host an anchor, and now I'm doing this, like, What did that feel like?
Lynn Smith 25:05
Freedom. That's the first word that comes to mind. You know, I think a lot of people that's such that career is put on such a pedestal. But you know, it was it was 15 years of anchoring 20 years total of being at NBC years before that, before I went on air, and you know, it is a really intense job where you are overnight shifts, weekend shifts, I mean, it is a 24 hour business holidays. And, you know, it's it's all in, it's your life. And so, I had done what I wanted to do, and I really felt driven to this new purpose. And so once I got out and started this business, it just felt freeing, I'd never had control over my calendar, I'd never decided if I wanted to work or if I didn't want to work. And I never had weekends. So that's the word that always comes to mind is it was really freeing to work for myself. And I think many people out there are realizing they don't, they don't want that corporate job. And that's why we're seeing this increase in entrepreneurship. And it's, it's a great thing. And I think for a lot of people listening, if you're just starting, it's a scary thing too
Steven Pesavento 26:27
It is scary, because it's a lot of new, right? It's all on you, you had a couple of those failures along the way. But I just, it's so inspiring to see, I believe, for so many people, you go from living the traditional employee life, stepping out onto the ledge jumping, and figuring out how to pull your shoot on the way down, and that you're actually seeing that success. I mean, I'm sure it wasn't an overnight thing. But to be able to be in that position is such a great example of what's possible. When you decide, you set a clear vision, then you decide to do something. Tell me what impact has that done for your family to be in that position where now you're earning a totally different lobby multiple six figure totally different world, you're growing your business, you've got that feeling of freedom? What does that been like for them?
Lynn Smith 27:19
Well, first, you made that parachute jump reference. And I say this to my experts before they go on TV. A media appearance is like a bungee jump, you get to the ledge, you're a little bit nervous. At the end of the day, you just gotta jump and you trust that that cord, which is their expertise is going to catch them you just have to trust yourself. And you the same thing happened to me when I had to take this leap of faith, I had to trust that my expertise was going to be my business. And that's what led to this success. I think you have to have that in order to have a successful business. Now that we've had great success, and I'm looking to grow it, what that means to my family is not the number. It's the time that mom's there in the morning, when I was a morning show anchor. So I was never home in the morning, you know, my son used to as I was putting him down, he would be like, are you going to be here in the morning? And I would say no. And then we'd talk about it. And he asked for me to draw him a picture. And he would describe what he wants. There were outrageous and crazy pictures. But there I was four o'clock in the morning, painting this or with a marker drawing this picture that he had requested like a bulldozer with spaghetti on it. And now that I'm there in the morning, you know, I'm able to be the mom I want to be now we always want to be better. Yeah. But it's it's transformational for me and no career title, no job, no bank account number would replace that. For me that feeling
Steven Pesavento 28:48
Yeah. That's It's so beautiful. And it's such a good reminder that the numbers just a target. It's not the outcome. It's the number is just something that allows you to then choose to live that life.
Tell us share with the audience a little bit more about exactly what you do with clients, and what are some of those big boulders that you help clients get over so they can really succeed on the media side.
Yeah, the biggest thing is saying out loud, what your perceived weaknesses. A weakness is what you think holds you back, and then saying out loud what your fears are. Because your fears are what actually holds you back. Once you say those things out loud, you realize that not only will they not hold you back, but they become an asset. You know, I've coached leaders of billion dollar companies, to the startup CEO, they all have the same weaknesses and fears. It is a fear of failure, a fear of looking foolish, and a fear that their colleagues will no longer take them seriously. That's what they say over and over again, the biggest leaders out there to start up CEOs and it boggled my mind that everyone had that sense
Lynn Smith 30:00
Same problem when it came to their perceived weaknesses and fears. And every single time when they said them out loud, and we started to talk about them. They talked themselves out of it. Give you an example, a leader of a billion dollar company said that her perceived weakness was that she didn't have as much experience in the industry, as many of her colleagues in the C suite did of that particular industry. She had come from a different industry, very prestigious background, but not in that niche. We started talking about it.
She started saying out loud those things because many times leaders can't have a safe space to do that. Yeah. And she realized it's actually her superpower to be the differentiator among that group to bring insight from a different sector. That became a tremendous asset, which is why she's still a leader of that billion dollar company. And so it was consistent across the board, that whether I was media training someone or I was communication, training somebody for the boardroom, or the C suite, they needed to say out loud, what those things are that they think hold them back, and consistently they were able to overcome them. Such a great exercise to do tell the audience, we've got one more question left to wrap up. So tell the audience before we wrap up on that, where can they find out more about you? Where can they get in touch? Yeah, my website is Lynn Smith, tv.com. I'm on all the social pages at Lynn Smith TV. And on that homepage, you can go to coach and that's where my programs are, I have a communication program called the boardroom. That helps you go from respected to revered as a leader to a thought leader, and then the green room, which helps you to go from a thought leader to go to media expert. I love that this has been such a great episode learning about how you're working towards financial freedom, learning about how you've built this business, you found your niche, you're really serving this audience, and you're actually creating ways to create passive revenue right within your business. I think it was some really good examples too, about how people can help understand what targets they need to set and how those things go. So with that, wrapping up on this, what is your advice for those listening, who are on a path towards creating this vision of their ultimate life, so that they can live it financially? Ask yourself where you are with your confidence. Ask yourself what's holding you back? Because you are actually in complete control as to whether or not you get to the next level? And you got to find out what it is that's holding you back? Is it your fear? Is it your weakness? Is it your doubt? Is it your lack of confidence, whatever it is dig into that, once you chip away at it, that's when you get to the next level. And I actually just had a coaching call this morning, where I heard my clients say, you know, these are these are the fears that are holding you back. And I said, Wait, hold on, what are those fears? Say those fears out loud? Tell me right now. It was a fear of not being good enough. And a fear of failure. We coached him out of both of those and had an actionable plan. And so that's what I say to you. If you're listening. What are those things that are holding you back and tackle them today?
Steven Pesavento 33:14
Such great advice Lynn Smith, so great having you on absolutely go check out more of her work. For all of you listeners. The things that we're talking about today are things that you can go and do yourself. Sit down work on creating that vision, go grab the guide to put together that vision on your own investor mindset.com/number And we'll look forward to seeing you guys all on the next episode.