Lacey Langford | The 3-Step Start-Up Process

Lacey Langford is an Accredited Financial Counselor who helps military families negotiate the financial issues unique to their world. As an Army brat, Air Force vet, and military spouse, she knows how the challenges facing this community – and how to overcome them.

But the lessons she shares about financial planning, entrepreneurship, and more are universal. 

In fact, one of her specialties is helping people transition away from a traditional job to starting their own business – so they can control their own financial future and not depend on a boss. This is especially useful in these uncertain times.

She says many first-time entrepreneurs rush in too quickly. She recommends a more methodical approach to the start-up process.

We go into details on that, including

  • How to fit your business into your family’s financial planning
  • Two factors many first-time entrepreneurs forget 
  • How to work most effectively with a business coach
  • The only way you can rise above the competition
  • And more

Listen now…

Mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

Giuseppe Grammatico: Welcome to the Franchise Freedom Podcast. I’m your host, Giuseppe Grammatico your franchise guide, and today we have a very special guest. Today we are speaking with Lacey Langford. Lacey is the founder of laceylangford.com, a personal finance blog and coaching practice specializing in the unique world of the US military. She’s also the creator and host of the podcast Military Money Show.

Lacey is also the creator of the Financial Coaching Business Builder as a course to help fellow financial professionals build a profitable coaching practice. She’s a US Air Force veteran, military spouse, speaker and a financial coach who changes people’s lives from being fearful of money to having control and confidence with it. Lacey’s an accredited financial counselor with over 15 years of experience in financial planning, counseling and coaching. Lacey, thank you for your service and thank you for being a guest on the Franchise Freedom Podcast.

Lacey Langford: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Giuseppe: Yeah, very excited. We’ve been talking and we had a conversation before the show on the future of learning and the future of school. So that’s definitely, maybe another show. We can we could do a whole show on that. It was very interesting. But I wanted to dive right in. And kind of a first question I like to ask everyone on the show is if you could just fill us in and everyone listening in on just a little bit on your background. How did you get into this business? And what does that journey look like?

How Lacey Became a Financial Counselor

Lacey: Yes, well, I grew up in the military. So I’m an army brat. And then I served in the Air Force where I met my husband and I became a military spouse. And along the way, I developed this expertise in money and I really wanted to help the military community improve their financial life. Well, my life as a military spouse and my career really weren’t congruent. It was very difficult for me to find work, or to find work with my education and experience, or to work the hours plus, you know, my husband being gone a lot deployed to the Middle East.

And that was very frustrating to me. I wasn’t getting to fulfill, you know, my career aspirations. Plus, I wasn’t contributing financially the way I wanted to, to my family. I wasn’t making the kind of money that I thought I should be making. And then one day, I just got very angry at my situation and thought, like, you got to stop complaining about it and start doing something about it. So I think I was just really angry.

And I thought, I’m gonna start my own business that I’m going to have control over and I can take with me when I move with my husband and follow his career, I will just put mine in a box and take it with me. And that’s really how I started into entrepreneurship was to have that control over my career and then it kind of evolved from there. I started a website because I need people to know who I am and, you know, what my area of expertise is.

And then that started where I started, you know, blogging, and then I started my podcast and me starting my own coaching business. And it turned into me helping other financial counselors that are military spouses dealing with the same struggle starting their business. So what started out with just me wanting to have a career in finance evolved into this bigger picture now of me helping still, people with money that are in the military community but doing it in many different ways.

Giuseppe: Very interesting. So I find it very interesting because you, you know, not only did you get into business for yourself, there was that pain, right? That trigger. You just got really upset and I think a lot of people can relate to that. But you built a business that was mobile, that was something that, you know, as your husband was traveling, and I guess and your family was moving around. It was a business you can take with you, correct? It was kind of an online base. So,

Lacey: Yeah, and still is now to this day, everything that I do is virtual and I can take it anywhere I go.

Giuseppe: Oh, great. That’s awesome. As far as the audience goes, we have a lot of people looking to make that, they’re in career transition, they’re looking to leave their job, they’ve thought about owning a business, a franchise or non-franchise business. Some of them have been forced to almost look into that because they’ve been either furloughed or potentially downsized and losing their positions. What, you know, what would be really, maybe your top two, if not top three pieces of advice for someone that’s looking to make a career transition into entrepreneurship?

The Importance of Self-Truth in Business

Lacey: I would say, first of all, you need to really know why you’re doing it. I know that can sound kind of hopes and dreams and not firm, but you really just have to know your why because if you know the why, you know why you’re doing it, then you’re able to figure out a way to get it done. So I think that’s really important. Like, what’s your core is. Self-truth in business is huge because if you don’t, aren’t rooted, then you’re just going to blow in the wind. But if you’re rooted to know why you’re doing something, then it makes it that much easier to make decisions to move you forward.

And my why is I really want to help the military community improve their life with their finances. And that’s something that’s very close to home for me because I grew up in the military. It’s family. So that’s my why and it really helps me make decisions. If it doesn’t go along with me helping the military community with money, then that’s not something I’m going to pursue. The second thing I would say is to do your homework, to really understand the playing field before you start playing.

I think that sometimes people get the cart before the horse and they jump right into an area, whether that be a franchise or their business, and they haven’t really, have a clear picture of what’s going on with different levels. So for example, in the financial field, you know, there’s financial counselors that deal with people more on crisis, the financial coaches that are helping people get where they want to be versus advisors and planners that really help, kind of doing that for you and telling you what to do.

And if you want to get into a career in finance, not to mention entrepreneurship as a career in finance, if you don’t understand those different areas of the playing field, you don’t know which place you want to play, you know, what position you want to be in. So I think that’s really important is to do your homework to speak with people, informational interviews that are in that area is very helpful to hear those things that you don’t know what you don’t know.

That’s really important is doing your homework. And then the last thing I would say is having a niche is really important. I think whether that’s a franchise or, you know, because that is some type of niche, what your franchise is, or your business is that you have to set yourself apart from competition, and that’s really important, especially just in general entrepreneurship is why should somebody pick you over somebody else that has the same qualification, same experience or the same product, what makes you so special that I should go to you and not the other person?

And I think that, before you get into the journey, that’s really important to start to, you may not be able to get your niche right away, but keeping that back of mind and really starting to hone down what you want to do is really important because then that’s what why people hire you or why they buy your product is because there is something different about you.

Giuseppe: Right. Yeah, and just about all businesses, you need to stand out. But going back to your first point, the why. We talk about that as well. What is your why? What is your reason for doing this? And, you know, we talk to I can’t even tell you how many people we speak with on a weekly and monthly basis, and you ask someone, you know, you have a great position. Why do you want to look at entrepreneurship?

And I would say there’s a high percentage of people that have no idea or they just feel it’s all about making more money. And there’s a lot more to it. You know, we like to dig a little bit deeper as to why and then once you dig a little bit deeper, we typically find that it’s basically freedom is what they’re looking for. The time freedom, the financial freedom and everything in between.

So it sounds like, you know, a lot of people are looking for a similar, that whole being able to control their time, and that’s huge and that’s not to be taken lightly. Whereas in many positions, you kind of you’re, you need to be in at nine and stay until five and it’s got to be Monday to Friday. So I think the flexibility and time freedom are definitely two of the larger one. So I don’t know if you come across the same thing, but that seems to be what I come across on almost a daily basis.

Lacey: I think for me, I deal with a lot more people in the military community, especially military spouses. And part of their why is having control over not only their career but their earning potential. I think that’s a really big part is that the sky’s the limit. If I want to hustle for it and sell and get myself out there, I can increase my earning potential. But if there’s times when there’s like right now where, you know, the kids are all home and, you know, everything’s a little bit crazy, I have flexibility to step back for a minute and not push as hard.

So I think, you know, it’s really important. I just can’t say it enough to know your why because I think sometimes people think it’s cool to be an entrepreneur. Like oh, that’s the thing to do is to go into entrepreneurship, and it really is awesome. But if you, again, are just blowing in the wind and you don’t have yourself rooted in why you’re doing it and what’s the end result that you want, so you can make a plan on how you’re going to get there, I think that that is a mistake people make.

Giuseppe: Right. Yep, I agree. Definitely agree.100%. So switching gears a little bit, we talked a little bit about a couple weeks ago right before the show we were just talking about franchising, business ownership and that with many of the franchises that there, they are offer a veteran discount. They also offer, there’s a certain as far as financing deals and promotions that are offered, can you not talk so much about that but can you talk a little bit more about the financial coaching and, you know, what is a typical, maybe call or meeting look like when someone does reach out to you?

How Lacey Can Help

Lacey: Yes. Well, I think anything coaching has to do in life coaching, if you’re doing leadership coaching or performance coaching, financial coaching, that it really comes down to who you are. And the best way that you can kind of make, get action to be taken. So for me, with normal clients, especially with the first one, I do what I call orientation.

Dealing with money, you are talking to somebody about the most intimate parts of their life, and that can be difficult sometimes. So I do a lot of preparation to make sure people understand and are willing to trust me with that information because I do take that very serious. If you’re going to be talking about your money and how it’s impacting your marriage you’re getting into some very personal stuff that often people never crosses their lips.

You know, they’ve never told another human being how they’re really feeling like thinking about getting a divorce. But if you’re thinking about getting a divorce, it’s going to impact your finances. So I really say at the beginning about security, I always tell people, if I think you’re going to hurt yourself or hurt somebody else, and I’ll let somebody know because I care. That’s part of the orientation. That’s been some lessons learned. I’ve had some people that I did feel were going to hurt themselves over a money issue and got them the help they needed.

Not everybody I deal with, you know, that’s only been a couple of people that’s ever happened. But I always like to let everybody know because those things have happened. And then I’ve talked about no judgment, that I’m not here to judge you with your money. You know, I wouldn’t want you to do that. And then also tell them prep them that I’m going to be asking them very personal questions. But I’m asking because it has something to do with your money.

It’s not me getting into your personal life and it’s the example of the marriage stuff really is a good example. Because sometimes people don’t realize that there’s a thread running through what they’re saying until they go to a coach and that coach listens. And, you know, here’s that thread. And sometimes I’ll have people that keep talking about the stress in their marriage and problems and trust issues. And so then I ask the question, hey, is that something that you’re thinking about? So I think orientation is really important.

And then the biggest part is discovering. Hearing how they currently manage money, what works for them, what’s not working for them, what their goals are, what the changes that they want to make, the, you know, the end result of financial coaching, what that would look like for them. And then it’s really kind of pulling it apart from there and say, Hey, will, I want to learn how to pay for my child’s education and I’m going to tell them the tools and resources they can do to make that happen.

I’m also going to talk to them let’s say if they’re saying they want us to pay for their child’s education, but they have a ton of credit card debt or they still have student loan debt, I’m going to point out that, hey, you know, you’ve got to take care of yourself first before you start going after your child’s education, because who’s going to take care of you? It’s going to be your child if you don’t take care of yourself, so those types of things. So it’s just really after that case by case but there’s some basic infrastructure of the coaching sessions and then it’s going to be, you know, depending on the person.

Giuseppe: Right. Yeah, it’s funny. I had a conversation the other day, you know, back in school back in college, some of the, you know, or just even going back into high school, money is covered but not covered as much as I believe it should be. Investments, even if the investment classes didn’t dig too deep. But I noticed the topic of money, balancing a checkbook, assets, liabilities, it was only covered very little. So I just found that pretty interesting. And I hope that in the future things change because there’s graduates that I know personally though graduate, they can’t balance a checkbook and have no idea on how to manage their money.

So I find that really interesting. So, I’m sure there’s a lot of demand for the financial coaching. So one thing and then I wanted to give information of where people can contact you. But one thing I like to also ask is, knowing what you know now, what’s some advice that you would give your younger self so, you know, you’ve been around for a while you’ve been coaching, have the business what would you kind of give your, what advice would you give your younger self?

As an Entrepreneur, Failure is Essential

Lacey: Well, I mean, entrepreneurship number one thing I would tell myself is to understand that if you’re going into entrepreneurship, you’re going into sales, and that’s something I did not realize. I didn’t realize I would have to sell my coaching services and really put myself out there. That I would need to think of different ways to meet clients needs that I could sell, let’s say, doing now course that I’m able to sell that helps financial counselors and coaches or doing different types of group coaching or masterminds, or subscription stuff, or you know, you have to pivot based on the need at the time.

So, sales is something I wish in the very beginning that I would have taken more serious and taking the time to learn before I kind of jumped in with both feet. That’s something I would have done differently. And then telling my younger self, something about life, I would say that, just go for it, that it’s never going to be perfect but you should just go for it and fail and then get back up and do it again and fail and just keep going because it’s those failures, I think, that have bought me the most success.

And I wish I would have not been so scared in the beginning to just jump in and go for it because I think learning those lessons at a younger age where I didn’t have as much responsibility would have been different versus being married, having children. So I think that’s the lesson would be not be so scared about failure.

Giuseppe: Right. Yeah, that’s some great advice. There was actually a show on, who was on the show, Gary Vee was talking about that, that the timing is never gonna be perfect and the lighting isn’t always going to be perfect for that video. Just to do it and you learn from it. But just, you know not putting yourself out there a lot of people procrastinate. Years go by and that video is never made, that business has never started. So I found that very interesting. So some really good advice.

Lacey: I was just saying those are some of the best stories too looking back. Those mistakes, those failures are the funny stories you tell other people or to look back and tell somebody else Hey, don’t ever do this because this will happen and you can help somebody else with that. So I think, you know, sometimes it’s embarrassing, but it happens to all of us.

Giuseppe: Right. You don’t hear maybe as much but you’re right. You hear about the entrepreneurs that are making, they’re very successful, making a lot of money but then you find out that they declared bankruptcy two or three times in their career. You don’t hear about that kind of stuff. So it’s very interesting when they interview some of these business owners that have been around for a while, very successful. So yes, very good advice there. Lacey, if someone wanted to contact you, what is the best way they can reach you?

Lacey: On my website, I have a contact form. Laceylangford.com, and Lacey with an E. That’s the best way to get ahold of me. There’s information about my coaching there. There’s also information about my podcast. It really is the hub of what all I have going on.

Giuseppe: Great. And we’ll include that in the show notes. So laceylangford.com Lacey, anything else that you’d like to mention to the audience today?

Don’t be Scared to Take the First Step

Lacey: I’ll just say go for it. You know, do your homework, that’s really important, but don’t be scared to take the first step. Research, you can’t just continue to do that all the time. At some point, you have to take action. So do your research, but then make the decision to make the leap and just know that when there’s mistakes and you fail or it didn’t go the way that you planned that you’re now part of the team. It happens to all of us. So it will continue to get better and better but you’re just gonna have to keep working at it.

Giuseppe: Yes, love it. No, that’s it. It’s definitely happened to all of us. Lacey, again, thank you very much for being on the show. This has been a really great interview and hope to talk to you in the very near future.

Lacey: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.