Almost everyone has an idea about a business they want to start, a book they want to write, a piece of art they want to paint, but few people persist to see the idea through to final form. Entrepreneurship requires persistence to ride through both the highs and lows.
Conor Richardson is the founder of MillennialMoneyMakeover.com, a website devoted to teaching Millennials how to finally master their money. As a CPA, author, and entrepreneur, Conor is on a mission to help Millennials escape debt, save for the future, and start living the rich life.
Prior to Millennial Money Makeover, Conor worked in Finance for an Austin based startup, where he focused primarily on financial reporting and assisting the company’s financial growth from an incubator based accelerator program to a NASDAQ listed publicly traded company. Conor began his career in New York City at Deloitte & Touche, a premier accounting and financial services firm, in the Audit & Enterprise Risk Services group. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from The University of Georgia, and additionally earned a Masters of Accounting and Professional Consultancy from Villanova University.
Where did the idea for Millennial Money Makeover come from?
Millennial Money Makeover was created due to a lack of information on personal finance explicitly tailored for Millennials. Over half of Millennials are stressed about money. So was I. MillennialMoneyMakeover.com is a website dedicated to teaching Millennials how they can turn around their finances, escape debt, save for the future, and live the rich life now. It is the go-to resource for anyone in their twenties or thirties with questions about personal finance. Millennial Money Makeover is full of information from cutting-edge researchers, professors, industry experts, behavioral psychologists, and more who are all devoted to helping people manage their finances.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Well, for me I am a fulltime CPA outside of Millennial Money Makeover. As a result, it is incredibly important for me to remain efficient with my time. This means working on articles, interviews, writing, and podcasts before and after my typical workday. My mornings are usually when I am at my most productive mental state. Therefore, I dedicate those early hours to writing, while the evenings are devoted to editing, research, or anything else that needs to get done that day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My job is to notice things. When I see something worth sharing or have a moment of creative connection, I always put pen to paper and write it down. This process sort of vets the idea. If I want to continue with it, then it is a matter of action and determining what medium I think the idea is best suited for. At that point, I refine and tailor the message. At the end of it all, I force myself to hit “Send.” This cycle generates my idea momentum.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The rise of robo-advising in personal finance is absolutely fascinating. Millennials are flocking towards investing in hybrid-approach shops, which means these businesses are using highly sophisticated technology to build custom portfolios and then pairing that offering with the human element of financial advising. By 2025, over 5-7 Trillion dollars will pour into robo-advising business.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Persistence. Almost everyone has an idea about a business they want to start, a book they want to write, a piece of art they want to paint, but few people persist to see the idea through to final form. Unfortunately, I have a workmanlike approach to business, writing, and content in general. Entrepreneurship requires persistence to ride through both the highs and lows.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Partner with professionals. I think one of the biggest mistakes young professionals make is to believe the assumption that they must learn everything through the drudgery of self-experience. The reality is that teaming up with a good mentor and getting career coaching along the way can help people avoid a tremendous amount of business mistakes. It pays to get professionals on your side.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Buying a house is one of the biggest financial mistakes someone can make. Let me clarify, buying a house too early can be disastrous to your finances, especially for Millennials who are often unprepared and dealing with nagging student loans or credit card debt. The pressure to buy a home is immense for young professionals. My advice is to defer until you have established significant savings momentum. Then, and only then, jump into the housing game.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Consume more books. Reading offers a pathway for entrepreneurs to learn at an accelerated rate. The chances are that if you are facing a difficult problem, a sticky situation, or solving an organizational problem, someone has already solved that problem before. Finding the right books to read can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Viewing competition as the enemy is bad business. Instead, I am always open to collaborating and working with others in the personal finance space. My goal is to have Millennials think differently about money and personal finance; anyone facilitating that mission is pushing towards the same purpose.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Good content doesn’t go anywhere unless it is in front of the right people. Aligning my articles and posts with the right market fit was a steep learning curve. Today I always ask myself – Who are my customers? Where are they? And what do they want? This helps me hone in on my target audience.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you have experience in a field of professional expertise, say accounting, finance, or law, start your own consulting firm. There is a tremendous shift occurring in the workplace as we move towards a more freelance economy. Building your brand now will pay dividends later.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
My best $100 purchase has been my Miansai leather journal. Before I started my own business, I never used to journal. But I find the entire process cathartic. If you don’t journal, then I suggest starting today! It will make your mind clearer, shaper, and remove the stress of running a business.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I would have to say, Evernote. This software is fantastic because it helps me get organized and allows me to jot down ideas on the fly. Sometimes creativity is organic, and I need to be ready to catch my thoughts. Half of my ideas would be lost if I didn’t use Evernote.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand. This book is a terrific story about talent, hard work, idealism, and business. For me, it gave me a needed boost to always remember to give my best work.
What is your favorite quote?
My most recent favorite quote is “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
• By viewing your competition as collaborators, and not the enemy, you will breed long-term success
• Writing and journaling daily will allow you to hone your business acumen and sort your best ideas quickly
• Persistence in business will carry you towards success. Ride both the highs and lows and enjoy the journey.
• Learning at the rate of experience is too slow, leverage your professional network of intellectual capital to accelerate your career
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.