- Jan Chatzky built her thriving business after an unexpected job loss.
- When starting your own business, make sure your idea has working legs, says Chatzke.
- Make sure to take advantage of all opportunities even if they are not suitable at the time.
Before Jan Chatsky wrote more than six books on personal finance and money management, she was a financial columnist for Money magazine. One day in 2008, the company informed her that it would cut costs and that she would no longer be an employee, but that she could continue to contribute jobs independently, she said.
“They’ve been going through layoffs and cost-cutting measures that are getting very expensive,” Schatzky told Insider about the situation. “They said they would let me keep my column as a freelance journalist, but I was on the microscope and there was no other way to look at it.”
The sudden change in her career led her to take a closer look at the different paths she could take to move forward.
“It was definitely unexpected and I tried to look for another job at first, but it wasn’t very easy to replace the salary level I was getting. I decided at the time that instead of working for someone else again, I would start the business,” Chatzke explained.
After searching for a new job and not finding anything that suits her, Jane decides to turn her side projects into her main income. continued her work on today TV show, where she was a financial editor for 25 years, then also focused on building a company that does what it does best: educate people on how to better manage their money.
It was her leap of faith in going out on her own over 10 years ago. Today, Chatzke is now CEO of her moneyis a bestselling author, founder of a company and platform that educates and empowers people to understand their money and achieve financial success.
When she started building her business it wasn’t quick or easy, Chatzke explains how she did it and what she learned along the way.
Don’t start a business just because you have a good idea.
Schatzky explained of her previous career ambitions: “I never saw myself as a business owner. I was happy as a financial journalist and had many side projects and opportunities that supported what I thought would be the entirety of my career.” “When I lost my job at Money magazine, I had to be pivotal, but before I did, I had to make sure there was a need I was filling and that I didn’t do it just because I haven’t found another job yet.” Jane realized that good financial advice was needed and that she could turn her skill set into a viable business.
Another thing Jane needed to make sure of, in addition to having a business idea with a stable base, was that she would have enough money to support herself and support her business as it grew from scratch.
“At the time, not only did I lose my job, I also went through a divorce, so it was necessary for me to have my finances in order to keep everything,” Chatzke told Insider.
Chatzky always tells business owners that it’s important to keep managing your own money while growing your business.
“The biggest mistake business owners make is starting a business with no backup. I know what it means when you want to go ahead with your idea, but you should protect yourself by spending a little bit of time and effort on your finances,” Chatzky states.
The number one cause of business failure Because of cash flow problems When starting her business, Chatzky wanted to make sure her finances were strong. It’s already a big enough risk on your own, but doing it without a safety net can result in failure.
Walk through the doors that open.
Before starting her work, Chatzke had extensive experience as a freelance writer and worked hard to find stories that resonated with the people and media she was working with. Having this experience was a springboard of sorts, and it also helped that it was really on top of the editors’ minds for some of the shows and stories.
And in her career transition, gaining more independent business, she was already confident in promoting herself, so she turned to it by seeking out speaking posts. But the most important thing she did was always open up about what came her way.
“When you’re just getting started, I always advise to walk through the doors that open,” said Chatzke. “Be prepared to check out an opportunity even if it seems inappropriate at first glance.”
Chatzky hosts a radio show called Everyday Wealth and the way this opportunity was presented to her was by chance.
“I got a call from a contact I haven’t spoken to in nearly a decade who mentioned that they were looking to replace a radio host and asked if I’d care,” she said of the situation. “At first I thought, ‘I don’t want to host a radio show,’ but I’m still checking out this opportunity and I’m so glad I did because I love it. Even if something doesn’t look like it would be decent, I still check it out because you never know” .
In the beginning, boot into what you can do inexpensively.
Many new business owners want all the new features, websites, product videos, and top-notch social media content, but they can be pricey. You may have to find workarounds to get what you need or want for your business.
“When I was starting my newsletter, we wanted to use a focus group to tell us what they liked or disliked about the newsletter and how things were going,” she says. “It was suggested that I pay for a focus group and that would have easily cost $10,000 and I didn’t have that at the time.”
Instead, Chatzky sought to take advantage of the resources that they were Immediately available to her to try to search for similar ends but through different means.
“I put a link in the newsletter asking people to volunteer to be part of a board I’m going to run to discuss the newsletter and it worked and was free. The newsletter has grown a lot since then, but if I thought the only way to get it done was by spending $10,000, it probably wouldn’t be The newsletter has begun.
Don’t let the bumps along the road stop you.
When starting a business, there will be a lot of pitfalls along the way, but what matters is that when these situations occur, you are not deterred from achieving your goal, Chatzky suggests. Many business leaders have to work long hours, build their contact list, and sacrifice to make it happen. And it may take some time before one acquires a new business, and perhaps most importantly, it is also likely that some time will pass before one turns a profit.
On the side of caution and a conservative approach, it should be assumed that it may take two to three years – or maybe even more – for a new business to start making profits. Chatzky certainly dealt with challenges in starting and growing her business, but she remained determined and did not view any bump or challenge as the end of her business.
“There have been a lot of bumps along the way. What I have found to be the most challenging is finding good people to hire. For a small business, every hiring seems vital. The pandemic has been a challenge, not in terms of revenue, but people have changed in terms of what they want And they expect it for their work experience,” Schatzky says of the evolving work environment. “Nobody wants to be in the office anymore and I grew up in newsrooms, so hiring and interacting with people has definitely changed and affects how I run my business.”
Make sure your business is actually a business.
Every business starts with an idea. It is important before you spend the time, money and mental energy that your idea is a viable business. Do you fulfill a need? Will you be able to expand your business and can it be profitable? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 5 companies fail in the first year Only half of them survived the five-year mark. You can increase your odds of success if you take time and plan your work in advance.
“Sit down and really plan your revenue forecast, but also understand what your expenses will be,” Chatzky says of the realities of starting a new endeavor. “When you are running a business, you will have to reinvest in the business, you will have to hire an accountant, pay taxes, increase the product and it will take money to grow. You need to get rid of all this and determine if your idea really has business legs.”
Chatzky stated that starting her business and seeing it grow into the success it is today was one of the most rewarding things she did, but it wasn’t easy and she didn’t start to figure it all out.
“It was a decision out of necessity and to save my life. I was responsible for half of my children’s post-divorce college education while still funding my retirement — but that necessity drove me to move forward when challenges came up, get creative when I wanted to expand, and say yes when opportunities presented themselves. To be successful, you have to be out of balance.”