Carter Cofield is the founder of Cofield Advisors, a financial services firm that focuses on creatives in the entertainment, writing, and social media industries, and the creator of Deduct Everything – Your Blueprint to Tax Free Living.
Cofield Advisors’ mission is to free creatives from all financial stress and save them thousands on taxes in the process. I’ve learned a lot from Carter in the two conversations I’ve had with him on the podcast.
He’s already helped me think differently about my taxes and how I approach my business generally. I’ve started asking myself “how do I make this work for me?” And the results are really in the numbers. I’m actually looking forward to filing my taxes knowing what I know now.
Ok, I’m not looking forward to filing taxes. lol. There’s nothing fun about the process. But it’s fun knowing I’m not leaving any money on the table.
In Carter’s course, Deduct Everything, you’ll learn a few things that are well worth the investment. He’ll show you how to:
- Turn your personal expenses into business expenses
- Make your entire lifestyle tax deductible
- Keep records and stay organized so you can stay stress-free.
Carter joined me on the podcast to discuss his money story growing up and how he was able to pivot from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. We also talk about the importance of having multiple streams of income, the value of tax write off’s, playing offense with your money, and the importance of networking with like-minded individuals. This episode has been downloaded over 12,000 times!
“You’re not making money unless you’re making money when you’re not working” – Carter Cofield
Rich: Hey, what’s good. This is Rich. And you're listening to the Paychecks and Balances podcast, where you'll hear dope conversations on navigating your finances and career so you can achieve the freedom you want. And it's great to be back. And I can't wait to share some of the conversations that I've got lined up with hand-picked guests who keep things fun, relatable, and informative. And also thanks to everyone that voted for paychecks and balances for the Plutus awards, which recognizes a diverse range of personal finance content, creators, and P, and B is a finalist in three categories. Personal finance podcast at a year.
Yes. Personal finance content for underserved communities. Yes. And best generational financial literacy content. And even if P&B doesn't win any of these awards, it's great to be amongst so many names who are doing great. Things in the personal finance space as for today's episode, I'm kicking off the season with Carter Cofield who previously appeared on episode one 43.
Carter is a certified public accountant, personal finance specialist and the owner of Cofield advisors, LLC. He also recently launched his own podcast over at Coalfield concepts and we have a. Fun conversation about mindset, creating income streams, and how to navigate taxes. So you're reaping the most law doing the least, and we also get into how to start a business and overcome some of the most common obstacles that hold us back.
So without much further ado, here's my conversation with Carter and I hope you enjoy Carter. Welcome back to the podcast, man,
Carter: thanks for having me, man, I'm super, super excited about today. Looking forward to it.
Rich: So, how has this quarantine COVID life been treating you since then? It started back in March.
Carter: I mean, honestly, it's been one of the best things that has happened to me, man.
Like I think that the quarantine, the fact that it forced you to sit down and reflect and, you know, do things that you've been promising yourself to do. Um, again, for me, I've, you know, reached milestones, completed tasks. That's been on my to do list for years, or for me it's been an amazing blessing and an amazing time to like, Reflect on, you know, what I want to do?
Who would I want to become and what the future looks like? I think, I think when the world was open, we were going, going, going, and now we actually have a time to sit. So I'm actually really embracing
Rich: it. What's been one of the biggest realizations that you've had during this time. And then also, maybe it's the same thing was something where you're kind of like this isn't so great.
So I got to make sure I'm paying a little bit more attention to this. One of
Carter: the best things that I've learned. About myself. It's just like, why do I want to do so much? Right. I think that we're just talking, you know, so talk to like, go, go, go. And once you accomplish something, you go to the next task. But I really want to know why, like, why do I want to be as successful as I want to be?
And for me, the answer to that question was just from the lack that I had as a kid, right. Like I didn't have much. So I think now I have this. Overcompensation, if we want to be successful to make up for the kid that didn't have it. And now that I know I'm just okay with it, but I just didn't know before.
So that's probably been the biggest realization and the thing that I probably need to stop. Just talk about this a little bit before, like, you know, you know, a glass of wine a night has turned into three glasses of wine and like, you know, I you're reading. I'm like, he's probably cut back on the drinking, not heavy, but just like, you know, I have a trainer now and he's like doing stuff in the only way your apps are going to show is if you stopped drinking.
All right, I got it. Got it.
Rich: Yeah, it's funny how that abs muscles, things, the vanity muscles, the things that people can obviously see, we hear about that. And then we're like, yeah, we got to make that. We got to make that move. We got to make that choice.
Carter: You set up as you wanted. If you don't eat right now, he's going to show
Rich: and I'm with you there too.
On the, on the, not drinking. And for, for me since the beginning of July, I've cut alcohol altogether. Cause I think I'd gotten to a point where I was having, you know, one too many cocktails, one too many mixed drinks, not necessarily feeling great every day. And, uh, I made that big decision to just cut alcohol altogether.
So at the time that we're recording this, it's been, uh, just over two months of being purely alcohol free and it has made a very big difference in terms of alertness not being thirsty, being able to sleep a little bit better, even though sleep is, is still very much an issue for me. So I'm totally with that.
And I love what you said about kind of tying, uh, the, a scarcity mindset to. Wanting to achieve more because I think for a lot of us, we operate that way. I think about the experience that I had growing up, I think about some of the things that I dealt with and I think about how driven I am. And for me, it's probably a little bit of even wanting to prove people wrong who are no longer in my life.
They might see me on TV or they'll stumble across the podcast one day. But I think about the experience I had grown up with things like bullying and actually having a teacher say, You'll never amount to anything. And having a principal tell me that I was going to end up in jail to where I am today. So that kind of serves as, as fuel in terms of me always wanting to be the best at everything I do.
And then I think just naturally, I'm a, I'm a competitive person too. Yeah, no, I
Carter: love it. I love what you said about, uh, you know, about the childhood Thomas, if you will. Um, those can be the deciding factors like, well, we don't want to do something. It shouldn't be our pure motivation, but. Well, you're about to have a lazy moment.
And you think about that teacher that says you weren't going to be anything that spark that a lot of spark, and you'll go for another few hours, you know? So I think that as long as it's not the core was pushing you, but cause I don't think that's healthy, but I do think that those childhood memories, those, you know, those, those, those, those things that really stick in our heart are great motivating factors and it's, and with me as well, it's what drives me every day.
Rich: I love that. And also part of it, I heard you talk about this on your podcast a bit, this element of the scarcity mindset and how you thought about spending money. So can you talk a little bit about that too? Because I think you brought a really unique perspective and at least one that I hadn't heard before for how folks may look at money and how that can impact their spending habits.
Carter: for sure. Again, thank you for listening to my podcast, man. You know, when you listen to, I know I've made it. Um, but, but yeah, so as I mentioned in the story, like, you know, I came from South side of Chicago, like none of us in one home, like money wasn't, uh, you know, abundant in our, in our household by any means.
So, you know, when Alec home across a substantial amount of money, which back then was like a $20 bill, I would be. I would be so rushed to spend it because I didn't think it really belongs to me. Right. I'll rush to spend it because I thought if I don't spend it now, somebody's going to take it away from me.
Cause I was so used to not having much in such an, a minus that I lack. And that really drove me not being able to say, because when I would get some money, I'm like, Oh, I have to go spend it because not, it's not really even mine in the first place. So. For me, it took a long time to get past that, understand that that no money is a prevalent money is paramount and it can belong to me.
And one, one of the things that helped out the most, I was read a book and it talked to me, talked about how much money is circulated in the U S economy and how many people they were in it. And it did a calculation, but basically there is enough money for everybody like adults, kids, babies to have $80,000 a year.
So that was the first time I knew it was okay. That know some money belonged to me and it really helped me get out of the scarcity mindset.
Rich: What else? Because I, I know a book is just one part of it. I've started to read a lot more myself, but what else has helped you kind of turn that around and move that mindset more so toward abundance?
Carter: Yeah. So much. So I think again, understanding your relationship with money and if it's negative or positive understanding of why, but for me it's been. Understanding, uh, you know, how money works and focusing on making more money versus spending less money. And again, I think you should control your expenses, obviously, right?
But I think when you only focus on spending less money, it puts you in sticks you in this mindset of scarcity. Versus if you focus on. How can I make more money? How can I, you know, have more streams of income. It puts you into this abundant, powerful state when it comes to money. So for me, that has been a huge help.
I know one that has enough money for all of us to go around, knowing that I have a focus more on making money versus trying to spend less, it puts me in this powerful abundance state, you know, just like. I think the, the Mo you know, money's the game, the more you understand how money works, and honestly, the more you understand the rules, the easier it is to make, if that makes sense.
Rich: That makes complete sense. And I'm thinking of a lot of people out there who are in debts, student loans, of course, particularly with the millennial generation. Credit card debt and the concept of making more money beyond the day job is foreign it's. I need to keep getting these benefits. I need to keep getting this steady paycheck so I can keep making these student loan payments.
I don't really got time to be picking up something else right now. So how can, how can people balance that? Where they feel like they already have a lot on their plate and they're just trying to get out of debt, but at the same time, there's this whole world and there's this whole opportunity for them to actually increase.
Their income through other means, which is ultimately going to help them in terms of getting out of debt and achieving some of those goals that they have in mind.
Carter: Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. So honestly, I don't give you a little bit about my story. I read the book, rich dad, poor dad while I was at work.
Six hour audio book, right. This is the whole thing at work, but it shows how much work I was doing at that time. But listen to the whole book. And do it just completely revitalize, reorganize how I think and the premise of the book and said, you know, obviously you're going to work as fine. I kept my job for a while before I quit, but there's other ways of making money.
And if you don't find another way to make money outside of your job, you'll be stuck in this race of, you know, making money to pay down debt and spending and making money to pay down debt and then spending. And it's a vicious cycle. If you don't catch it, you'll be there for your entire lifetime. So I think.
You know, reading that book really helped me understand, like, wow, I need to find other ways outside of work to make money. And I gave myself the excuse of, you know, I work a lot. I have to work 70 hours a week. Cause there's no time for that. But honestly, I, I realized that that was an excuse and that was me being in my own way.
And uh, I started hanging out with entrepreneurs and honestly that would probably be my number one. Piece of advice to people who are stuck at work. And that think that they there's no other way to make outside money, spend some time with a couple of entrepreneurs, take them to lunch and to see how they think and see how they process making money outside of their normal means.
And it's so many ways now with technology with, you know, um, All of the resources that we have now. So many ways to make money outside of the editor job. And you can do it from something that you actually love, which I think makes it even more fun.
Rich: Now you mentioned go hang with entrepreneurs. So it's not like you just walk into, well, I mean, you can't walk into a whole lot of places right now, but where do you even, how do you even make those connections?
Because yes, there's the people that we see on Twitter and social media and yeah, you can send them a tweet asking to, to get their DM so you can invite them out for coffee. Yes, you can. Blindly hit somebody up on LinkedIn, but how do you even create those relationships or find the type of people that you want to associate with and kind of get those people to let you into their world?
Because I mean, probably for you and probably for us, there are a lot of people who reach out to us and, and the more work that we do, the more that we become known, the more requests we see from people. And so we have to be discerning at a certain level about who we let into our circles and where we're investing our time.
So. Considering that, how would you recommend that people even start creating these relationships to be in a position where they can take someone out for a virtual coffee, you know,
Carter: Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. You can't just DM somebody and expect them to drop everything and talk to you. Right. But, um, and, and the COVID quarantine has put us in a weird place, but for me, what I did, I meet up.com right.
Is a place where you can literally find meetups for anything. And one of those things would be entrepreneur meetup. It'll be freelancer, meetup, it'd be podcasts and meetups. Right. I think you leveraging. Like, you know, Facebook groups, meetup.com and going to conferences. Right. We met at fin con, right? So there's plenty of places to surround yourself so that you can make a genuine connection to someone and kind of use that person to, um, use that person to, to, to bounce questions off of.
So for me, uh, I use meetup.com. I went to all these networking events and I found an amazing group of entrepreneurs and, and. And when you, you, as you know, you are who you spend, the three, you know, the, the three to five people you spend the most time with. So if you are an entrepreneur and all you hanging out, hang out with is employees, you're going to be an employee again before you know it.
So I think that if you use these resources and these social media sites or these conferences, when we're able to do those again, to make genuine connections with other entrepreneurs, Just so that you can see as possible. Cause I believe you can't be what you can't see. So you need to see it being possible first and then I'll promise you it'll become easier.
Rich: I like it. And did you know the types of entrepreneurs? So for example, entrepreneurship is very, very broad. There's the podcasters, there's the YouTubers, there's the coaches, there's the certified financial planners, tax accountants, folks like yourself. There's so many different ways to dabble in entrepreneurship.
So when you were building these relationships, was it like you were going to finance related meetups or, uh, or. Anything in a particular lane or niche, or was it a bit more broad for you?
Carter: For me, it started off very niche based. I knew I wanted to hang out with people that were doing what I was doing for, you know, for a few reasons.
One, I didn't know what the heck I was doing starting out. So the more people that can tell me, you know, I'm on the corner, in the right direction. It was the better. So for me, it was very niche focused, but one of my mentors, you know, he gave me a really good piece of advice. He said, you know, if you hang out with people that.
Are doing only what you want to do. And I believe is actually, which you believe in, you will never grow. So at that point, I wanted to start hanging out with different, um, entrepreneurial people that are in completely different industries. People that were doing things that I didn't think was possible or profitable, like, you know, for instance, fin con is such a vast range of different professions, but it's all around finance.
So I felt like. There's no way you can make money talking about money on YouTube. And then I found out somebody making $40,000 a month. I'm like, wait a second, wait a second, wait a second. So like making money off podcasts and things like that. So it started off very niche, but then I expand it and I grew so much more because these are people that have completely different ideas and beliefs, which made me start venturing out and doing other business ventures, which has been a blessing.
Rich: Now, we're going to talk a bit about turning a side hustle or an idea into a business, but we, I think you've also mentioned, uh, income streams. And I wanted to talk a little bit about that. So what are some of the income streams that you have right now? And, uh, and what are some of the other ideas that. Uh, you may have for people and end also with this, I know I'm asking a lot of questions here.
Do you, do you believe that people really need to have seven income streams? Because I've heard that thrown around in the context of millionaires, but that can also sound overwhelming to people too.
Carter: The average millionaire has seven streams of income, which is true. But I also think, like you say, it can be a little scary. People say seven, I could barely have one then, you know, knows. I think it can be a little, uh, a little paralyzing if you will, to think about seven streams of income. So do I think you need seven?
No, you can have four. You can have four great ones or, you know what I'm saying? You you'll be fine, but I think you're definitely more than one because as quarantine and Cobra has taught us anything. One income source is not guaranteed anymore. So to answer your original question, I have about six or seven, but it didn't start out that way.
This is over years, right? So when I was working my full-time job, my first side income was, uh, a rental car, a rental car company, which basically would just me renting my car out on Turo, which Turo is a platform. They can rent your car out. And then it started making about $700 a month. Then I got more cars and then that put me in a position to quit my job and then start my business.
So I had, um, I had my business income. I had my, I still have a couple of cars, so I have my rental car business. I have my courses, um, that I sell. Uh, we'll talk about that later. Um, I have my income from my investments. So my dividends, my appreciation, things like that. It's in five. I have I'm about to close it or my first rental property.
So that'd be another stream of income. Yeah. Thank you. That it's been a process. It's been a process, but, um, and then like, you know, affiliate, you know, uh, working with people products while I believe in and letting my audience know about it. So I have about six or seven. I think the biggest thing, it's not about what they are.
It's about how easy they are. They can be to manage, right. They didn't end up. It's not something that has to take 45 hours a week, like about carbon a business. It runs itself. Right? My course business kind of runs itself. Um, I run a property, it should run itself. And I heard an interesting quote just yesterday.
Right. And the quote was. You're, you're not making money. If you're not, if you're not making money when you're not, when you're not working and something along those lines, right. You're not making money unless you're making money when you're not working. And that is the place I think we all need to try to get towards.
Rich: And for the car rental business, because I'm sure COVID has changed a lot. I'd imagine that's taken a hit. So yes. And I see you nodding people, can't see you nodding, but I see you nodding and it's probably not as significant because you do have these other income streams, which I think makes the greater point of why it's important to have multiple.
So even if one suffers a bit, you still have. Others that are continuing to generate income, but I guess how do you recommend, so let's say, or maybe even what you've done, where you see one income stream is starting to dip. Do you balance or change anything with the others? Do you look to pick up an additional one or do you kind of just say, you know what, I'm a ride this out and not change anything and create more overwhelm for yourself in the process
Carter: for me.
Uh, you know, it's, it's low for a few months at one takes a hit. Um, I don't really stress out like it cause I have so many others, but what I do do is take a step back and find a way I, how can I fix this income stream to make sure it doesn't have as many. I guess I'll loop holes at it as it does, you know, before, but COVID is obviously something that we can't control, but I think that's the whole point, right?
If you have five or six streams of income, well, one takes a dip. You're not stressed because you have five all the way than usually the way the world works. If one takes a dip, another way increases. So again like my Carmen, a business took a dip, but the stock market Rose. Right? So those that income was going up and then now more people are at home.
And they're engaging in self education. So my core sales went up. So I think that the whole point of having five or six streams of income is that when one dips. You're fine. You can keep being happy and you know, we're in the world. I don't think it's the point is distressed about it, but that's why you have the D the diversification.
Rich: I love it, man. And creating a business, also tied to something I want to talk about as it relates to taxes. Because one thing I thought was interesting. Well, you've said a lot of interesting things, but one thing that really jumped out and we. And you mentioned it on the last episode that you were on and I was listening back to it and I'm like, I wish we dug more in on it then, but we have that opportunity now is this idea that taxes, the way that taxes are set up is that it's for, well, not for individuals, not for people who are just working the nine to five.
So can you talk a little bit about that? Cause I thought that was something really interesting in terms of how taxes are set up. Yeah, and
Carter: I'm so glad we're digging into this. Cause if people can wrap their hands around it, their life will change forever. So the tax code is not made for employees. The tax code is made for entrepreneurs and investors or entrepreneurs, investors, and freelancers, right.
People that are. Um, not working in the traditional space. And that sucks because like we were taught to go to school and get a job here to be fine. But here's the tax code saying, you know, we're not in your favor. We want to support entrepreneurs and investors. And the reason why is because the tax code is a game, it's an incentive system, employee.
I mean, entrepreneurs and business owners bring more jobs to the workforce, which helps the economy. Investors are putting their money into companies which enhance the economy. So that's all the IRS wants you to do that. If you do what they want you to do, they'll provide benefits for you. So to, you know, to your point to kind of bring this point home, this is how the taxes work for employees.
They get paid at work. They taped it. The government takes taxes out before they get a chance to do anything. And they spend what's left as entrepreneur or business owner. You make money, you spend it, it reinvested into your business and that you paid taxes on what's left. So that's subtle shift is like thousands of dollars, the difference.
Right. You know, so I think that people can understand that and understand that. You know, an employee making a hundred thousand dollars at work. My only take home 70, but a business owner making a hundred thousand might take home the entire a hundred thousand and not have to pay any taxes on it. If he's using his income and expenses in the right way.
Rich: one hand, I get angry because I'm an employee, but then, but then on the other hand, I'm also an entrepreneur and I have seen some of those benefits, even in terms of some of the things that I've been able to, to write off. And there's been things over the years where I just wasn't as informed. And so there's probably money that I left on the table.
And I think that's another big thing is that. I want people to not leave money on the table. And so is there anything specific to, so if you are an employee, uh, are, are there things that you see people commonly missing out on is just like general, like, yo you didn't think about this, like, yo that is an easy way to reduce your taxable income or to get a little bit or to get a little bit of money back.
So is there anything like that that comes to mind? Let's say someone's not a full fledge entrepreneur yet.
Carter: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, the thing is, man taxes are everyone's number one expense, right? The average person gets 40% of their lifetime, lifetime income to the IRS, like imagined Ridgewood.
What could you do a 40% of your money back per year? Right? I
Rich: mean, I'm not going to talk about what I would do with it, but yeah. I'd be responsible partially
Carter: because if I can help people to reduce their largest expense that they have, like how much better did they last be? So to answer your original question, if you're an employee, there are a few easy things that you can do to lower your tax liability.
One is, um, contributing to your, uh, company, 401k or IRA. And the reason that's so powerful is because not only are you saving money on taxes, you're increasing your net worth because your money you're putting your money, investing. It is growing. So. You know, for every dollar you put into your 401k or IRA, you save about 40% of that dollar on taxes.
So if you put 10,000 in your, in your 401k, you've not only invested 10,000, but you save $4,000 in taxes. So that's one thing too, is what's called an HSA and most employees have HSHS and they spend money on health expenses already. Anyway. So if you put money in your HSA, You get to pay for those expenses.
Pre-tax which I think again is saving you 40% of every dollar. So just these subtle nuances that you can do, probably take you 10 seconds to set up, or, you know, 10 minutes to set up, you'll save thousands of dollars or taxes each and every year going forward.
Rich: Now you mentioned health savings accounts, and that is something that's provided at my job.
And I'll admit I've always been someone who's just went for the PPO option. I liked the Cadillac plan. I didn't like the idea of having an amount that would have to come out of pocket. And I know I'm not the only one that feels that way. And I know that HSA is tend to be more beneficial to folks who are younger and maybe don't have as many health related issues.
The folks who only maybe go in like once a year or they don't go to the doctor at all. So what do you kind of say to that for the folks who are just like, I'm just PPO all the way. I've always voted PPL. I'm gonna keep voting PPO. And not looking at this other option, even though it's something that might ultimately be more beneficial to them.
Carter: Yeah. So let's just give a quick overview of a health savings account is, and basically it comes with a high deductible plan and all you need to know is that if you're young and you're helping, you're not going to the hospital that often. Then at a high deductible plan can work in your favor because it's generally about 40 to 50% cheaper.
Um, then a PPO plan. So instead of paying $350 a month, you might pay one 50 or 200 and now you're saving $150 a month. And what you can do is. Take that difference and it put it in your HSA because HSA is have, what's called a triple tax benefit. You put money in and you get a tax deduction for it. So you can put up to $3,400 a year, a year.
I think it might've went up in 2020, but so you could put $3,400 in the air and they, and then you, you save on taxes. You get a tax deduction for that. The money is invested. So the money is growing as you put the money in there and it grows tax-free. So that's two. And then when you use it, you don't pay any taxes on when you use it.
So you're, you're saving taxes in three ways and you're paying for future healthcare expenses. And it doesn't end at the end of the year that they can grow. I had a client with a hundred thousand dollar HSA. So when that person is old, they will never have to pay any, um, any medical bills out of pocket because they have the HSA that's been growing and working in their favor.
Rich: Yeah, I want to say that I'm gonna look at it in November when it's open enrollment time. But I know that probably, I mean, so I'm 37. I've been healthy. I haven't had any issues. You know, I get my back hurt. My knee hurts. These things hurt and there are other benefits, you know, and, and ways to look at it.
But I think that's a good one. Overview for people, especially considering most of the folks who listen to this podcast are in the millennial generation. And we do have a lot of folks who are healthy and have never even thought about this option. They just see it don't know what it is and just pick what they've always picked.
So I love that you shared that. Now, let's talk a little bit about creating a business. And so, uh, there are folks who they have something that they're dabbling in a bit on the side. So maybe they're doing a podcast or maybe they're putting stuff on Etsy here and there. Or maybe they're doing some, some Amazon where they're selling random, not, not Amazon.
Maybe they're doing like an eBay where they're selling random things that they have. And then there are the people who haven't started anything at all. So they're listening to this episode. Saying, you know what? I think I'm ready to start something. So where do you begin? And we'll start with the people who haven't yet started something.
And they're trying to figure out how to even start a business in the first place. We'll start with them. Where do you recommend folks begin? And also considering that we want them to minimize the overwhelm.
Carter: Yeah. Great question. So I, I believe every great side business or business should start as a hobby.
And the reason I say that is because you want to see if you like doing it for free, because if you like doing it for free, you love doing it when you get paid for it. I think about thinking about something that, because we all have gifts, we all should sell ourselves short on our abilities, our skills, our gifts, and we all have some, some greatness within us.
So I think it's take a day. I said, we have. Quarantine to reflect, take a day and reflect on what am I good at? What do I like doing? And then that's the first question. What are you passionate about? Right. And then you take that. Ask yourself a second question. And that is now that I'm passionate about it.
Can I make it profitable? Right? How can I turn this into a business to potentially get paid for it? And we ask yourself those questions, you'll come up with a list of things that should, that you like, and that you're able to do. And I think another important question is, does it serve, does it make someone else's life better?
And if the answer, if you're going to answer to all those questions, you can definitely find. An easy side, this, like you say, like, you know, podcasting probably for you started out as a hobby, right? And for me, giving out financial advice started out as a hobby, literally at the work, I will schedule a lot of people's schedule consultations from six to eight, and we would talk about their financial issues and I would give advice.
And I did that for a while, about three to four, maybe even six months before I even thought about starting a business, but I loved it. It brought me happiness and I was doing it for free. So I knew if I could find a way to get paid for it, it'd be a wrap.
Rich: So let's say somebody has, they've gotten an idea.
They've talked to people. And I also think what's cool about what you did is by talking to people, you get a sense of what the, what the most common questions are. You know, what it is that people need. And it helps you to be able to position yourself when you do turn it into a business. So let's say somebody they've come up with a few ideas, something that they like, something that would excite them to be able to make money doing it.
Carter: I love that you said that that's such a huge point. I want to expand on that for a second. I'm actually coming out with a free start, your dream business masterclass. So hopefully by the time this podcast comes out, that link will be in my Instagram bio, but. This is the part about here's the best thing about doing pro bono work and pro bono work is, is free work because it does three very, very valuable things.
When, like you say it is free practice, you get to practice your skill, your craft for free. And you get a list of the most important question is people's pain points. You can all this data, this, um, this, this really, really needed data for your business, that you're doing it for free. Number two, you're building relationships, right?
You're building relationships. People are so happy and that you're doing work for them for free. And it, you know, podcasts, you're building reviews, right? It's like you're getting this social proof that what you're doing is important. And number three, it helps you understand your value. So after my. Free consultations that I would give to people, I would say, Hey man, like, now that we're done, like how much do you think that was worth?
Oh man, that's a lot of price. And what I found when I looked at the average is that people thought it was way more valuable than I thought. So then it helped me kind of find a price point for where my services fit. So I think that doing a pro bono work that gave, that gave me so much insight. So by the time I started my business, I already had people that wanted to work with me.
I already knew how much I want to charge. And I had a wealth of knowledge of what people's most common concerns were. So it was huge.
Rich: Now you mentioned pricing and that makes a lot of people nervous. It's made me nervous because you're like, ah, I don't want to charge too much. I don't want to come off greedy.
But even within pricing, there's just an element of selling. Like you've gotta be comfortable selling your business, even if it's not a hard sell where you're going and doing ads and things like that. But you want people to want to work with you. And when you say that price, you want to say it confidently because if you sound hesitant about it, whoever you're talking to is going to pick up on that.
And so I see you waving your finger, so I'm gonna let you jump in
Carter: there. Yeah, I think this is, this is such a powerful concept that you brought up and we can talk about this for hours, but I'll, I'll keep it short. Never raise your pricing till you believe in that price, because once you raise your prices and you don't believe it, people will pick up on that in a heartbeat and they'll be like, no, like you like $200.
They'll be like, no, like, you know, but, so again, I think that there's two things that you can do to gain the confidence of price, you know, when it comes to pricing one. It's what I mentioned before. If people are telling you how much they think is worth you, you know, they're telling you what your price should be, and that gives you confidence in saying that price out loud.
And number two, you have to believe it by putting in the work and understanding your value. When I'll throw out my pricing from opera services. I'm so confident because I put in. The decades and hours of work to be as good as I am. And I'll, and I'll end it with this short story that solved my pressing problem for the rest of my life.
Right? So you notice this guy painting outside in Paris and this woman walked past and said, Hey, can you, can you paint a picture of me? He was like, sure. I mean, so you're paying it about 20 minutes later, he showed her the portrait. He was like, you know, she was like, great, how much does it cost? He said $10,000.
It's just like, And that took you 20 minutes. He said, no, it took me 20 years. And the point of that is people are not paying for your service. They're paying for the college. You went to the master's degree or whatever they pay for the thousands of hours that it took you to be as good as you are at whatever your craft.
Yes. And once you understand that, then you don't worry about pricing anymore. At least for me, it really helped give me some clarity.
Rich: It does cause I'm working on a course down too. And I struggled with some of that pricing and stuff. And I've struggled with some of the pricing stuff over the years of consulting that I've done.
And I had to put it in that framework of yo I've been doing this. And the things that I create and that I consult on are actually more so in the career side of things. Cause it's like, Hey, I have over a decade of experience as a recruiter. Across industries. I've worked my way into a company like Google.
I've had these onsite interviews and I, haven't not gotten the job in over a decade. So everything that I've interviewed for I've gotten, and I have a methodology for being able to do that. So that is worth something it's not just the, the four modules that you're completing. It's not just that 60 minutes.
It's all this time and trial and error. And even as I'm saying it now, and I'm reflecting on it, I can feel the confidence behind it. Whereas like, yeah, if you can't pay this
Carter: as a quick calculation, right. Just based on what you told me, you, you put it over 140,000 hours. Into what you've been built to do.
So again, people are not paying for the time that you would make this course they're paying for the 140 plus thousand hours that you put in to be as good as you are at what you do.
Rich: And when you put it in that context, I hadn't even thought of it. For that number. And then I just think about also the podcast and everything else, and I'm getting even more confident.
So sorry. Y'all that price might go up when this time. Yes. That's how we do it. It's all right. Somebody got the pricing down. They're ready to go full steam. They're ready to move away from getting paid via cash app and Venmo, and to actually creating a business. So what's next and we're not going to go through everything.
Because we ain't got enough time for that today, but just, I want to get through like these few early steps so that we can at least get someone up and running
Carter: to have your idea. You, you know, you've turned into a business, you start making a little bit of money. I think the first thing you want to do is to incorporate your business.
And, and, and this is for a few reasons. And, and by corporate, I mean, starting out, just getting an LLC that's that's best for most study entrepreneurs. And the reason is because a few things, one. It builds credibility. You know, you're not just rich, you know, of course you're, you're, you're now paychecks and balances, right?
You have a name that stands behind what you, you know, what you're doing and it, cause if you don't, if you're not willing to invest in yourself, people won't invest within you. So number one is credibility. Number two is asset protection. And you want to incorporate, because if you get caught up in litigation, right, people.
If you don't incorporate, you can Sue your business and they can Sue you the, once you incorporate, you now protect yourself from the business. So, um, you wanna make yourself LLC, then you want to get a business bank account. You don't want all the money coming in and out of your personal account. And now you're using it to pay, you know, for the drinks the other night, you know?
So you want to separate the, the, the, the, the PR the business and the person. So you want to open a business bank account. And then you want to make sure all the money's coming into that business and then all the money for that, especially for the businesses coming out of that account. So now use successfully separated yourself from the business.
And at that point you've pretty much have the basic setup. Now you just go out there and market yourself and go make money and to keep those systems in place. And, um, at that point, I think a start it's very, very important to start looking at what I call your write-offs and put people don't understand what write-offs it is.
Expenses related to your business. The IRS allows you to deduct from your income and what most people don't know is they have write-offs. They are write ups that there are things that you're paying for right now as an employee, as a person that will immediately become tax deductible. Once you open a business.
Like the day of, you know, so I think that's very important as well.
Rich: Things, most commonly, when you're working with folks, you see that they don't think about that they could be writing off because I'm sure there's like three or four things that people it's like, Oh, wait, I could write that off. And it's like, yes, that is why you are a business.
Or at least part of the reason.
Carter: Yeah. Yeah, no for sure. I actually have, um, I came prepared, so I have the 10, most common personal expenses that become immediately tax deductible that most people don't know about. So number one is your phone and phone bill rich. Somebody calls you on your cell phone and that is the same point.
Use a personal, but they call you on your cell phone talking business. That phone is now a business phone, and you can now write off the cost associated with the phone and your phone bill. So that's number one. Number two is. Uh, auto expenses. If you're using your car to drive, to work, to meet, to meet a client, to, to go to a conference, a portion of that car, the car note, and the car insurance is tax deductible, um, meals, entertainment, anytime Richard, if we was to sit down and go to dinner, I would say, yo, what's on me because I know that I could to write off that dinner.
You know? So that's the one very, very important thing. I think something very important to do as a new entrepreneur, as a new entrepreneur and business owner is to. Make your friends, your business partner, because now, cause now every time y'all go out to eat every time y'all go out for drinks, it's now a business expense.
So I'm a friends, we do some type of business together. So I think that's very important. And then you have like your internet at home, um, membership dues. I'm a part of Soho house and my business work and creative. So I'll write up my membership. No, you pay an accountant. You get to write that off. Very, very important education, education and conferences are very important.
We went to fin con right? I got to write off that flight. I got to write off that, uh, the hotel and all of that associated with it. And then, then there's some really, really fun things that you can do around planning your personal travel around business conferences. And now. You kind of get in a write off for your vacations.
And it becomes a really, really fun game after a while. You're like, how can I get the IRS to pay for my clothes, to pay for my vacations, to pay for my car. Right? And then it really becomes a fun game and you're saving thousands of dollars in a process.
Rich: I'm getting excited as I'm hearing this. Ooh, I got some opportunities or maybe when things, uh, opened back up a bit more, but do you ever get people kind of worried like, Oh, like that sounds shady.
Like I don't want to trigger out audit. Is that something that comes up? Yeah.
Carter: And I think, you know, with anything the less, you know, about something, the more you're afraid of it. Right because you just don't, you just don't know. So, you know, you're probably scared to drive a car when you first started.
Cause you didn't know what you're doing now. You have in the car and the second nature. So I believe that everybody's people are very, very nervous and fearful about things they don't understand. So the point of making my tax free living chorus, and my point of talking about taxes so much is to get people educated about it.
And once they become educated, They become way less fearful. So at first the people are hesitant when I explained it to him, like, Hey, rich, if you're going on vacation in Vegas, right. For Saturday and Sunday. And then you meet with a friend on Friday and you meet with the business partner on Friday and you meet with the business partner on Monday, you can now take that, that whole trip is now a business vacation because.
You met somebody on Friday, you messed up on your Monday. Now the IRS allows you to write out the whole weekend because you were, you had to stay in Vegas till Monday to meet with that second person. So it's all these things that the more I educate you, the more competent that you become to actually do it.
Rich: Yeah, bro. We might have to talk about business partnership. I'm like, yeah. Uh, Where can we meet fans? So I think this is a great segue as we're rounding toward the end here. So you did create a course and I want you to share more about that and you might've even dropped some nuggets that are already included in there.
So talk a little bit more about the duct, everything, because just given what you've shared already, I think it's something that'll be incredibly powerful for
Carter: people. My deduct everything courses is designed to help business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, even people with a side gig, right? Save thousands of dollars on taxes.
And the reason I created this course is because people will come to me with so many questions, right. And a lot of people, especially starting out can't afford a one-on-one consultation with me or to work with me. One-on-one. So instead of saying no to people, I want to find a way to say, Hey, I can't help you personally, but I created this resource that you can get for a nominal price so that you can, because I believe that you deserve the education as well.
So. Due to quarantine man is sat down and I put the thousands of hours that I've studied the tax code instead of the CPA code or whatever. And I put it into this really concise, really fun, really like video walk through course to teach people exactly what I do to live tax-free out, mate. Multi-six figures over the last couple of years.
And my tax liability is less than somebody going to work that makes $50,000. So I'll pay less than I'm making probably quadrupled in three times, it's probably six times as much money as somebody is working and the employee, and I'm paying less taxes than somebody who has a job. Who's making 40 to $50,000 a year.
Rich: man. And right now the course, and of course is going to be dependent on when people listen to this, they hear about it. But right now that course, I believe it's under 200 bucks, right?
Carter: Yeah. And of course it one 47 and you know, I throw out deals and actually. For your audience. I want to give them 25% off by using a special code.
You put it in your show notes or whatever, but the point of the course for me, wasn't to make money. My core point of the course was to make an impact. If I can help people lower their highest expense of 40%, if I can lower down at 10 or even the zero. That person had now has freedom to live a better life to finally start that business that they want to start.
Right? So this course for me was about making an impact and I, and, and, and as boring as taxes sound, I think I did a good job making this course really fun and really interactive. And I, I think I get people excited, just how you got excited a couple of minutes ago when I started giving you these, these pitches about, you know, things like.
Right off of vacation, or I'll give you another one. You can write off your shopping spree. So if you buy, if you go shopping and you stitch paychecks and balances anywhere on your clothing, that. Clothing isn't and the stitching is now tax deductible. So my favorite, my favorite, uh, blazers. I'm getting cold for the visor stitch right on that thing.
And now that the $200 blazer is now a $200. Um, this
Rich: one, is it okay if I stitch it on the inside? So people kiss,
Carter: it has to be visible. It has to be visible. It has to be, I shouldn't say it has to be the IRS not playing about that. It has to be visible. So I think the point is, man, if I can get people going to in a, in a Headspace to play this.
Gang members, all tax code is a game. If I can give them the rules to play the game with a fair pay, a fair place, then they'll, there'll be empowered.
Rich: I love it, man. And so that will be available. I'll make it simple for folks. Pay bough, P a Y B a L dot C O slash deduct everything. That's going to be the link.
If you listen to this, just remember that pay bow.co/deduct everything to learn more about. And comp the course and we'll get all the discount code stuff figured out before this goes live. So Carter it's been fantastic having you on the podcast. Again, I'm glad we had a chance to catch up excited for what you have coming up.
And it's dope to see all of the progress that you've made since the last time you were on the show. So for those that don't know where to find you, tell them where to find
Carter: you. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Before I get to that, I want to say, thank you for having me back, man. This is always fun. And you know, I didn't realize how much time flew because it's just such a good back and forth, man.
So I appreciate you having me back on, but, um, you can find me a couple of places. One is Instagram, uh, Coalfield underscore adviser. I'm posting literally everyday given free gyms on. How to be more financial literate, how to save on taxes, how to start your own business. So you can find me on Instagram at Cofield underscore advisor, or you can check out my new podcast, um, is called, uh, coalfields concepts.
It's on every, uh, podcasting platform. That's coalfields concepts. Um, hopefully I can get as good as rich one day. Um, and then, uh, yeah, and then last but not least, uh, Copeland advisors.com is my website. You can see my blog and everything like that. And, um, rich, rich gave you a link for the course and I'm always here to help.
And I think that, you know, making an impact is what we all should be doing and using our God-given gifts to make the world a better place.
Rich: And dude, man, so appreciate the inspiration. All right, man. Thank you. Have
Carter: a great day.
Rich: Thanks again to Carter for coming on the podcast and a great kickoff to the second season again, to cop his deduct, everything course, visit payback.com/deduct everything that's P a Y B a l.ceo/the duct, everything.
And the code for that discount is tax. Dash free tax hyphen free. We'll get you to discount that he mentioned. And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to share with your network, subscribe and hit us with those five stars on Apple podcasts. If that's what you're doing, you're listening. This week's five star review comes from Matt
It's written mat, C H E L S Soma go with that. And the subject is informative and down to earth and it reads been listening since the quarantine started. I'm a millennial who's finally starting to get financially fit. And every episode has at least one thing new I learn or take away leaves me inspired and motivated to continue even during hashtag these times, keep it up.
So matches, really appreciate this five-star review and those kind words. Glad to have you along for the ride as we cruise through these millennial streets. And if you'd like to find paychecks and balances on Twitter and Instagram, check out at pay balances and for the private Facebook group filled with folks coming up professionally and financially, we're at paychecks and balances.
Thanks so much for listening and I'll talk to you in a couple of weeks until then be safe amount pace.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
In This Episode of Paychecks and Balances:
- How cutting back on going out and drinking can lead to more clarity in your life
- Why you should be focusing on earning more, rather than saving more
- The importance of networking events
- How to get started with multiple streams of income
- How Carter started a rental car business using Turo
- Why the tax code works in favor of entrepreneurs
- Tips for reducing taxable income
- The benefits of using an HSA
- How to test the market and price your services
- Why clients will pay you for your expertise, not your time