Ellie Overholt, Forth LLC
Helping college students apply for the right jobs
Ellie Overholt took a career-track consulting job right out of college, but discovered pretty quickly that it wasn’t what she wanted. So she started working with college students to help them understand how to identify and apply for jobs they’d love. Now, her company, Forth LLC, helps young adults achieve their dream careers with guidance on resume and cover letter writing, networking, interviewing and more.
Hiscox-Ep1-Elle Overholt-Full Episode Audio
[00:00:00] Sanjay Parekh: Welcome to the Side Hustle to Small Business Podcast, powered by Hiscox. I’m your host, Sanjay Parekh. Throughout my career I’ve had side hustles, some of which turned into real businesses, but first and foremost: I’m a serial technology entrepreneur.
In the creator space, we hear plenty of advice on how to hustle harder and why you can “sleep when you’re dead.” On this show, we ask new questions in hopes of getting new answers.
Questions like: How can small businesses work smarter? How do you achieve balance between work and family? How can we redefine success in our businesses so we don’t burn out after year three?
Every week, I sit down with business owners at various stages of their side hustle to small business journey. These entrepreneurs are pushing the envelope while keeping their values. Keep listening for conversation, context, and camaraderie.
Thinking about changing your job? Elle Overholt is here to help!
Elle is a career strategist and founder of Forth, LLC. She helps college students and young adults achieve their dream careers by showing them how to hone into who they are and teaching them the skills that make hiring managers go bananas. on today's show.
I talked to Elle about the origin story of her small business: how she started Forth by pitching her skills to student groups at LSU and how she has now developed two distinct ways to help people find a career that they will love. We’re so excited to have you
[00:01:30] Elle Overholt: on thank you so much for having me.
What, what a joy, honestly, let's, let's get into it. I can't wait to talk about.
[00:01:37] Sanjay Parekh: So first I'd love to hear your background and like, you know, where you're from, you know, what you did in the, in the past where you went to school, all of those.
[00:01:45] Elle Overholt: Absolutely. Um, so I am, I really was born in the Midwest, but lived in Atlanta pretty much.
My whole life I grew up here, uh, grew up a big Georgia tech fan. And so old Georgia go jackets, quick plug. Um, always loved the school, loved the idea of living in the city. Um, met my now husband in high school. So we were high school sweethearts. We both ended up at Georgia tech. Um, and so really like growing up, I was always someone who was really fascinated by school.
Um, I was like you're type. Student where I loved doing the homework. I didn't always test gray, but like really was there to kind of show up. And I just loved school. So going to tech was a really easy fit for me because pretty much everyone who went to tech felt like they were pretty good at school.
Right. And then you get spit out into the real world and you're like, okay, I got to think for myself and kind of solve problems and things like that. But, um, but I grew up just kind of. Like I'm a, I'm a daughter of an entrepreneur. So my dad was, um, kind of always into sales. Never really wanted to have a boss.
And I always saw that. And frankly, I always thought. I never want to be an entrepreneurship because of that. Um, and then my mom, um, kind of, you know, was a stay at home mom for a season. She actually went back to law school when I was in school. And now she is, you know, works for a law firm and is in recruiting.
So I kind of have like an interesting background in that sense, but they always told me like, do whatever you want. We don't care. You know, you put enough pressure on yourself. So like, whatever you decide to do, we'll be fine. So went to Georgia tech thought I wanted to like. Beyond wall street, or like, you know, where, where the suit every day and the click clock heels on the marble floors or something big.
Right? This is kind of what I dreamt of. And that's really why I went to tech. I thought I want the best possible job I can, I can get and who who's going to get me there. And how am I going to get. So that really led me to attack. And when I arrived,
[00:03:38] Sanjay Parekh: what did you study
[00:03:39] Elle Overholt: at Georgia tech? Oh, great question. So I kind of knew, I didn't want to be an engineer.
Physics kind of scared me a little bit. I'm going to be honest. So I went the business school route, um, which was such a gift because, um, that was. The happiest side of the campus. If we want to say it like that, I was around a lot of awesome people. I was also a cheerleader during my time at Georgia tech.
Um, so I got to cheer the orange bowl and I got to go to the ACC championship and it was like the best time of my life, honestly. Um, but I studied business and I concentrated in operations and supply chain. And really the reason for that is that was the most generic. Business concentration. I could possibly find that wasn't like finance or accounting, which I knew I didn't want to do.
So I went into operations and supply chain, and that really led me to my first role out of college, which was in a small boutique consulting firm in the city in Atlanta. And so I kind of did what most Georgia tech students do and get that first job your senior fall. And so you can kind of tell. Seat back your last semester and just breathe easy, knowing that you have a job.
Um, and really, I thought this is the path for me. Like I will be in consulting. I will go get my MBA. I will then make it on wall street somehow. Like I will be doing the big girl career things. Um, and obviously that's not what I'm doing right now. And I can kind of fill in those gaps, but that's really like background and that's everything I did prior to what I'm doing right now.
[00:05:09] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, so, okay. So you started doing the consulting thing. Um, what was that like for you? Like what did you like about it? What did you not like about it?
[00:05:17] Elle Overholt: Oh gosh, such a good question. Uh, there's this phrase that's called like the oh, honeymoon. And I don't know if you've ever heard this, but basically the way that I've heard it described is you go on your honeymoon after your wedding.
And you're like, oh, I made a mistake. Right. And you have this moment. And that's pretty aligned with how I felt in my first job. Like I knew I wanted to. I have this big high-power career, but I didn't really even know what consulting was. And I would argue most people that go into consulting have a similar experience.
So here I am onboarding having like an internal panic attack. Like I don't think I knew what this was. Right. Like I, I just kind of said yes and sure I'll work hard. And I know I'll do whatever it takes to. I don't know, get by, but I really felt this sense of this isn't where I'm going to be forever, but also the sense of that's maybe.
Okay. Right. So let's, let's plant, let's bloom where we're planted. Right. Let's put my feet on the ground and figure out where to go from here. And, um, frankly, that was probably the best decision I could have done because. I learned more than I think I could have ever learned anywhere. I was bombarded with information, new, big clients, lots of data, how to do presentations, right.
How to speak to senior VPs and all this good stuff. Even though in the back of my mind, I was like, this really is not what I was created to do so that to paint the picture, hopefully it paints a pretty.
[00:06:52] Sanjay Parekh: So how long was it before you hit that? Oh point. And then how long did you end up staying total at the, oh
[00:06:58] Elle Overholt: gosh, this is going to make me look a little silly because I pretty much had that thought maybe two weeks in and yes, but I was there for three and a half years, so I really stuck it out and thought.
No, I'm I really want to see, I want to see this through. Right. And I want to see if this is an uncomfortable thing where I just feel weird and really spoiler alert. When you hear about what I do for work, it's really to help that person that I was really, and where I felt like I made a mistake, or I felt like I didn't have all the information going into that first career.
Right. Um, but I was like, let's try, let's see what we can do here. Let's see if I can really learn a lot. Let's see if I can see what's next based on what I'm doing at this job. And so I was there for about three and a half years now. Also mind you, I moved in the middle of this. Um, my husband now, husband, we had gotten engaged and married during that time.
We, he moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for work. And so I was moving after we got married and my firm, let me also just say the company had some of the best people I've ever known. And so I learned a ton from them and they said to me, Hey, if you don't know how long you're going to be there and you don't want to have to move and get married and find a new job.
Do you just want to commute and, you know, come for a cup like a week at a time or a couple of days at a time. So it really was a gift that I could keep my job, continue to learn, um, come back to Atlanta every now and again and all that good stuff. So that kind of paints the picture. And I did that for about two years, um, uh, yeah, back and forth from Baton Rouge to Atlan.
[00:08:34] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So now you're, you're not at the consulting firm and you've, you started up your own thing. Um, did it start as a, as a side hustle? Like how did, how did you kind of come up with this idea and how did you get it going?
[00:08:46] Elle Overholt: That's a, that's a great question because I think a lot of entrepreneurs that I talk to that is what happens, where they have this side hustle and they're kind of working it on the side.
Right. And. Love that concept. I think for me, it was like a side idea. Um, when I was at this consulting firm, one of the opportunities I had was to help the new hires get acclimated and it was like a two-week onboarding stent, and I would sit down with them and I'm kind of whispering in their ear. Like if you're overwhelmed, it's okay.
Because I was too. And, um, You know, thought I was in there, they made a mistake by hiring me and things like that. And so I really got a lot of purpose out of that because I felt that I was kind of fulfilling this need that I felt when I started, but it started to trigger this thought of. What if I could be this person on the front end, like before you sign on the dotted line, like, what if I could kind of serve in between college and career that gap?
[00:09:42] Sanjay Parekh: So, so people don't have the oh, honeymoon moment, right? Like they, they figure this out before they say
[00:09:48] Elle Overholt: exactly. So they have someone kind of talk through some of the things of like, Hey, this job may entail X, Y, and Z, or, or let's help you get that job that you know, that you want, but you feel like you're unqualified for right.
And just kind of level setting expectations too. Um, so when I was at this consulting firm and I was starting to have this inkling of like, I really liked this type of work, I like this onboarding training, new hire space. Where can I do more of this? Right. Like how can I take this? And frankly, I went to my first.
Hey, can I do this? Full-time like, I love this work and I really wanted to try to make it work in the context of where I was already at. And they were really gracious and basically just said, Hey, we're not at that place right now to have a full-time person in this role. Um, maybe in the future. But right now we really.
Just need you as a consultant right now, which I totally understood cause it, it didn't exist before, but I kind of always kept it in the back of my mind. Like I love this type of work and specifically this type of professional, right. This really new budding, like almost, um, what do they call it? Like sea legs or like baby giraffe.
It's like, they're learning to walk that I love that type of person and professional.
[00:11:08] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, so, okay. So when did you kind of decide then to start doing this? Like, were you doing it on the side then? So the company said now we, we don't want to do that. And did you say like, well, I'm just going to do it on the side here or did you go all in and be like, yeah, I'm just going to quit and go, go try this out.
[00:11:25] Elle Overholt: What was your path? That's a great question. So basically when they said, no, you can't do a full time. They still gave me the opportunity to do it. On the side, right? That's kind of a volunteer role if you will, during my time at the company. So I continued to serve that role and continue to be a consultant and just lean into it a little more learn as much as I can.
And one of the main things was I felt that I didn't, this sounds silly coming from someone that went to Georgia tech, but I didn't know enough. Like a Microsoft Excel. I felt like, oh my gosh, how do I use these command keys? They're disabling my mouse. So I have to just use these keys. Like I am so out of my element.
And so I thought I could just teach students how to do Excel. Right. So I started in my free time drawing up like Excel lesson plans. And how can we make this fun? And maybe I pitched that to a college right now. Just really. Thinking about stuff. I'm not acting on anything. I'm not LLC, I'm not making any money.
I'm just kind of dreaming right at night. And, and my husband, you know, went out and bought me like a line list, note, pad, right. So that I could kind of keep all my thoughts in one place and really grassroots. Nothing official, just moreso brain dumping anything that came to my head on this piece of paper, knowing that when I felt it was the right time to leave, I would at least have the energy and some ideas behind what I could try and put into action, but it was very grassroots at that.
[00:12:53] Sanjay Parekh: Okay. Okay. I got it. So, so, uh, you, weren't thinking about revenue, you weren't thinking about any of that stuff. You were just like, I'm going to do stuff. I'm going to create content and
[00:13:02] Elle Overholt: do stuff. That's right. And I had an amazing mentor who told me, who went to Harvard business school. She still is my mentor to this day.
And she owns a small business in Atlanta and she said, No matter what, doesn't matter if you have the best business plan in the world, does it matter if you know exactly your revenue plan? If you don't do the thing, you're never going to know if you can do the thing. Like, it doesn't matter if you've got a plan for it.
If no one wants to buy it, or if you don't like doing it, it means nothing. Right. And so do the thing. And she was so instrumental in that, you know, she said call up five college students that you have their phone numbers and say, Hey. I'm going to charge you $10. I'm going to meet you in the college library, and I'm going to teach you Excel for 30 minutes and see if they show up.
Right? Like see if you can prove your concept. And so I would do some of that and living in Baton Rouge, I was really close to LSU. And so I kind of plugged my feet in there and I would send cold emails. I would find emails of like, The sorority house president or the fraternity house president. And I would email and I would say, Hey, I teach Excel or my company, right.
That doesn't exist at this point, but my company teaches Excel. Does, would you mind for me to come totally for free and speak to your chapter about Excel? And they're like, sure, we don't care. You know, and that would just get me in there and I would, you know, dress nice and take some pictures with them and, you know, just.
Just kind of do the thing before it was ever a thing. Like, I didn't even have a name. I just was trying to get reps in to make sure I liked it. People wanted it. Right. And the other thing that I want to mention about this. He was instrumental into building the business that I have now, because what I learned is that even though I knew these students needed to know things like Excel, they did not know that they needed to know Excel.
So when I would say, Hey, can I teach you Excel? They would say, Hmm, I think I'm good at Excel. Now, mind you, they, they weren't. But they thought that they were right, because they hadn't had that experience yet, but they'd say, but you know what I really need help with. Can, can you do a resume? Do you know how to do a cover letter?
I got this big interview coming up. Do you think you could help me with that? And I kept hearing the same question over and over and over again, every time I would offer to teach someone Excel, they're like, no, no, no, we're good on Excel, but can you help me get a resume? And that was a huge aha for me. Um, so I don't know if that really answers your question, but that's what I was doing.
When I talk about boots on the ground. Even while I was working at my firm at the consulting firm, those are the types of things I was dabbling in starting to get an idea of what could work or what this potential client really is looking for.
[00:15:50] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, so, okay. Um, that's fascinating. So you kinda just, you let your customers tell you what they wanted.
You, you wanted to teach them Excel, but they were like, yeah, no, uh, we need help before that. So how did you get, w when was your first paying customer client? How did that happen? How did, how did you.
[00:16:11] Elle Overholt: Sure. And so what I kind of pivoting off of that when I was doing those work workshops, you could call them for free.
And I was getting some of those questions that was right prior, that was spring 2018. Um, I officially left my job in, um, the first week of June, that summer, um, and my, my firm and I had a great conversation and I said, Hey, it doesn't look like we're coming back to Atlanta. And. Soon I'm still going to be in Baton Rouge and it was kind of this mutual, like, yeah.
Okay. We thought this would be shorter term, but you know, you've got this vision for what you want to do. And I was very transparent. I think I'm going to start my own thing and they were so supportive and excited for me to do that. Um, but when I left, I would then go and do these workshops for free still.
And I would say. This is who I am. Right. And I would teach them a couple of things, a really quick, easy takeaways. And then I would say, if this is interesting to you, or if you want my help, here's a sheet of paper. I'm going to have it up here at the front with me. Come talk to me, give me your name and your email.
Right? I'm not handing out business cards because spoiler alert college students throw them away. So don't waste your money. If you're an entrepreneur, don't waste your money on business cards, collect their information. Right. That was another really great tip. I learned. Get a piece of paper, get their name and email.
I would leave with like a ton of emails. And then I would just sit down that night and write. Draft up an email that says, Hey, and I would set up like a link if they want to schedule some time to talk with me and whatever. And then we would get together either on zoom or in person. And I would just talk to them for like 15 minutes and kind of get a gauge of who they are and what they needed help with.
And then I would just really just pick. This is my, this is my price for resume. This is my price for cover letter. And I was really shooting from the hip. So if you're sitting, listening, thinking, how do you figure out those numbers? How do you price? I honestly thought, what are these? What is my market going to pay for?
And mind you, I was working with college students. So I had a pretty low bar. But I also also thought I want them to pay enough that it means something to them right there. They will show up. They will do the work. They're not just, it's not nothing, right. It's not free, but low enough that they're willing to work with me and I can learn.
From them and learn what works and learn, you know, how to do the best resume. And I'm kind of learning alongside them as I'm doing research at night. Right. And so that's how it grew. And that was like my first paying customers was Greek life students who listened to my workshop and said, yes, I want to learn more.
And yes, I want to contract you to do either my resume, my cover letter. Or, um, interview. And those were like the three core services that I offered right at the beginning. And I did that for about six to nine months. And that was all that I did. And it was just hustle, hustle, hustle, workshop, consulting, workshop consulting, workshop consulting.
[00:19:05] Sanjay Parekh: Okay. So first paying customer. How much did you earn off of the very first time?
[00:19:10] Elle Overholt: $100. I charged a hundred dollars for rent. And it wasn't me writing the resume from scratch, but we would sit down and they would have to bring their draft and we would go line by line. So I would talk about why this format didn't make sense, how, and I had a recommended format that I had created based on research and things like that and things that I felt were really strong.
And so we would transfer that over together, red line, but $100. I still remember her name. I'm still friends with her to this day. She's still a fan of, of fourth and, and all that good stuff. A hundred dollars, my first paying client for
[00:19:45] Sanjay Parekh: resume. I, you know, I, I figured so because I think most entrepreneurs, when they're starting something new, you always remember the very first customer.
That's why I asked the question. Of
[00:19:54] Elle Overholt: course. Yes.
[00:19:55] Sanjay Parekh: So in terms of pricing, then how has that changed over time? So it was a hundred dollars for the first customer. Like what is it now? How has that shifted or is that still the
[00:20:04] Elle Overholt: right price point? I'm so glad you asked that because. So there's a couple elements to this, as I, as I've thought about growing and I've thought about scaling, of course, you've got price increase, of course.
Um, and I'm going to get into that and kind of what that looks like now, but there's an element for my business that was never going to change. And that is that I am passionate about working with college students. I'm passionate about the young professional, and I never wanted to. Tap out. I never wanted to price out from that market because a lot of people, frankly, in my space, I talked to them and they say, yeah, eventually though, you'll move into executive resumes or you'll move into executive leadership and they're not wrong.
Like, I, I'm not opposed to that, but I knew that there's gotta be a way to serve this market. Cause that's why I did this in the first place. Right. And that's really my heart behind it. So I thought. What are some ways to still serve them, but it makes more sense for me and my time, but yet it still creates impact.
So I'm not about like just, you know, rinse and repeat scale. And it's like, well, I don't care if you get results. You know, obviously I want the result to still be there, but how do I do that? So I did a couple of. Number one, I increased my price for a resume. So my resume. Now, if you want to sit down with me, which again, it looks different now, too.
There's a video they have to watch in advance. They get the template in advance. They have to kind of do some of that legwork in advance of transferring it over, things like that. But my resumes $200. Now, if you want to know, have a fourth resume, that's custom. We also have a package on our website that does not have my eyeballs.
But it walks you through. Step-by-step. Here's the template. Here's what I would be thinking through. Right. Like make sure it has this, make sure it has this, make sure it has this and it's totally self paced and that's $47. Right. So that's lower than what it was originally, but you're not getting my hands on it at all.
Um, and then we also created this kind of all encompassing. Package that we call our get hired course. Um, that's, self-paced with support. So basically it's not just resume. It's everything. We go into networking, resume interviewing, um, cover letter. We talk about how to dress for your interview, how to dress for work, how to write an email to your manager, how to get promoted faster than your peers, things like that.
Um, bundled up it's four weeks and that's at a higher price point. That's really 3 97. But again, You get these monthly calls with your, with the alumni. So it's like, you're not getting one-on-one with me, but you're still getting my thoughts. Right. And if you want me to look at your resume, I will. Or if you ask me a question about how to talk to your manager, I'll help you figure that out, but it's not sitting down one-on-one consulting.
And what I find is when I've been able to meet them at their prices, But I can serve more people. It is a win-win for both fourth, but it's also, I'm seeing huge success from the client and students side.
[00:23:06] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. So that's interesting because, um, a lot of what you've talked about is really about scaling. And that was the question that I was going to ask you next of like, how do you, how do you deal with getting more and more clients?
Is the company still just you or are there more people. And how are you dealing with more and more clients coming
[00:23:24] Elle Overholt: on board? Yeah, so it is just me. Um, I have worked with some contractors to like do, um, my podcasts. I have some YouTube videos, things like that. Um, we will hopefully hire soon. Um, I would love to be able to do that.
And so, but, but as it pertains to like the creation of a lot of these things, it is, it is. MI and, um, I'm, I'm enjoying, I'm enjoying that part of it. But, um, and we talked about this a little bit offline, but I'll bring this onto our show today is like, there's some other elements when we think about. Where my business can serve.
Um, there are some corporate businesses that are looking for innovative ways to invest in their employees. Um, not just from, as we think about the job search, but as we think about career development, right. And helping this young talent. Be poured into so that they feel cared for from their employer.
Right. So that they know how to be a young professional. And it's kind of similar to what I was doing as an onboarding, um, you know, professional within my consulting firm, but they're kind of contracting it out to me. And so that has been, as I think about scaling, there's a couple of different elements, cause you want to think, yeah, we want to niche down.
We want to think about who we want to serve, but there's also elements of who are we not thinking about? That could use these same services that are willing to maybe pay more who have more stake in the game that are like, this means something to our organization to have new hires that are invested and learning and growing from day one.
Right. And so we've been able to engage with some of those, um, corporate employee, uh, corporate clients, if you want to think about it that way. So we've got corporate clients and then we've got this one-to-one. Student market. And both of them serve a similar purpose, but we approach them completely differently.
Right. As we think about attracting those customers right. And selling to those customers and pain points and all those things, they're completely different, but the solution is very similar. So that's been the big. Um, aha. And like realization within the past, probably six to 12 months that we've been able to tap into and see like, wow, this is a really big opportunity that we didn't even foresee prior to starting fourth.
[00:25:54] Clara Jennings: Support for this podcast comes from Hiscox. Committed to helping small businesses protect their dreams since 1901. Quotes and information on customized insurance for specific risks are available at Hiscox.com. Hiscox. The business insurance experts.
[00:26:12] Sanjay Parekh: So let's pivot a little bit now. And talk to you, talk about your role as an entrepreneur.
Um, so you talked about going into consulting and not realizing the things that you were going to have to do. Did you realize all the things that you were going to have to do as an entrepreneur?
[00:26:26] Elle Overholt: No, I, this is the thing that's funny though. There are things that I knew I would have to do that I thought I would like that.
I hate. So for instance, yeah, so I knew because all of us that are in the entrepreneurship space or thinking about the entrepreneurship space, see entrepreneurs online on social media, et cetera. And they. Like you see them create content or like create podcasts or whatever. And it looks so easy in some ways from the stuff.
And I thought, gosh, that's so fun. I can't wait to create what I learned is that I actually, that's not my skillset. I am very detail oriented. I like to plan. I like logistics. Um, The actual impact, right? Like I like teaching the figs, seeing the transformation, the promotion and the marketing and like the social media.
I actually. Not that I don't like it it's just way more draining than I ever thought it would be for me. So that part of it it's like, I knew that that that was a part of it going in, but I thought I would like thrive in it for some reason. And I just, I'm just not that way. But the other part that's funny is a lot of entrepreneurs are like, gosh, you've got to deal with the books and the finances and the.
I love that part of it. I that's like my bread and butter because I like having the quote unquote control. I like knowing where the money is coming in, where it's going out, you know, like how it's being, how it grows, maybe areas of the business where it's not growing, things like that. Then I can kind of take a step back and analyze.
A lot of entrepreneurs do not like that. And I actually love it. And that's where I find myself very different than most entrepreneurs. I am not a creative, visionary, like, oh, let's dream about what's next. That's actually harder for me to do than to actually sit down in the numbers. And as a fellow Georgia tech grad, maybe you can sympathize with me a little bit on that.
I don't know if you feel the same, but I find that I am not your average entrepreneur in that way.
[00:28:31] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, it's interesting you say that because I actually am the other way. So I'm more of a visionary. I don't like sitting and having to do the books. I'll do them, but I don't enjoy it. Like I like you. I like to know where all the money is, where it's going and all those kinds of things, but sitting in reconciling all the transactions and do that in HR and like dealing with benefits and payroll and all that.
Those are the two things that I personally. Do not enjoy about being an entrepreneur, Georgia tech grads, we'll we'll muscle through it, but you know, it doesn't mean you have to like it. Totally, totally. So, okay. So then in these things that you have, and haven't enjoyed, um, let's give some tips to the listeners.
Like, what are the tools, are there any kind of key tools that you use? Um, software packages or whatever that you're like? Aw, my life would be miserable without these.
[00:29:24] Elle Overholt: Right. I think that's a great question. I, I kind of have two different, um, approaches to thinking about this. The first thing, when we're talking about softwares, I just have to give a quick plug.
QuickBooks is everything like to me, it took me a year and a half, because honestly at the beginning it was so grassroots. It was just. Pay me, I'm sticking it in this account over here. I did create like a separate bank account from the beginning, and I would highly recommend that just because the separation is really nice, but I was not tracking things.
I was tracking things in Excel. Let's put it that way. I was very detailed, but it was, there was no system really to it. QuickBooks is everything it's worth. Every penny, in my opinion, it's not very expensive in terms of the software and it just. Makes things so simple. So highly, highly recommend, especially if you're someone who's not like me.
Who's like, I can't, the numbers are so overwhelming and I don't know what to do when it comes to paying your taxes, to be able to just like flip that to an accountant is game-changing so highly recommend QuickBooks, number one. The other thing that I want to say about just overall tips and tricks with dealing with things that are not in your skillset is, and this seems a little.
Strange. And I'm gonna try to explain this as simple as I can, but when I realized that I wasn't someone who was very visionary or even can struggle sometimes when it comes to thinking outside of the box or being very creative, what I realized is I want to take a step back. What are my strengths and how can I use my strength to tap into maybe my weakness?
So for instance, for me, I liked structure. I like thinking about things in kind of a linear pattern. Chronological pattern, um, very like org chart, like, and so when I'm sitting down to think creatively, instead of having a big whiteboard with just like endless opportunities that stresses me out, I'll sit there for 30 minutes being like I've got nothing.
Right. But if I sit down with a, with an Excel with maybe some grids built out with some topics, I can easily kind of think. In those guidelines are within those divisions. Right. If I'm sitting down and I'm like, okay, today I want to focus on my corporate client. Okay. Let's think about my corporate client and I'll build out an Excel and say, what am I offering them today?
Okay. One, two and three. Is this all I want to offer them. Is there more that we can unpack from here? How does the pricing look? Where can we do better within these buckets? And that gives me like my structure that I need, but then I can kind of imagine from there and what I realized. Creativity. Isn't one size fits all.
So it doesn't have to be on a whiteboard in a Google room, right? With like cool strobe lights and a coffee bar and snacks. Like it can be in the back room with my Excel and that's totally fine. So my, my advice here is, think about first, what are my strengths? How do I operate best? And then try to make that work for whatever you're not good at.
So if you want to flip the script, if you're really creative and you're really visionary, but you hate that. Sit down with a whiteboard and just ballpark, like start spitballing numbers and what you think revenues could be your, what you want them to be, and then dial it back into the spreadsheet. Right.
So you're kind of going reverse of how I would do it. I don't know if that's helpful, but that has been, been changing for me as your non-traditional entrepreneur.
[00:32:59] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah, well, um, one kind of note for the listeners, uh, if you do decide to start a side hustle or a business as an LLC, you should absolutely have a bank account that segregates your money separately, because if you don't, um, by, uh, like legal rules, and obviously you should talk to your lawyer about this, but commingling business funds with your personal funds means that the liability protection that your corporate structure is giving you.
Can be pierced and then you can be personally liable if you goof up things in the business. So talk to your lawyer, make sure everything's good, but highly recommend. And there's a lot of great business banking solutions out there that don't cost money are very inexpensive that can do the things that you need them to do.
Uh, okay. So, um, last question, before we kind of wrap up. Um, you've been helping a lot of people with career stuff, and we've got people listening to this podcast that, um, maybe are going to do a side hustle. Maybe you already have a side hustle, maybe have a small business, maybe want to have a small business, but a lot of them probably just have jobs.
And so what is your biggest piece of advice for somebody that's thinking about a new job or career change? Um, and you know, like what's the best thing that they can do to help themselves. And what's the one biggest mistake that you've seen that they should absolutely not.
[00:34:16] Elle Overholt: Okay, this is going to be maybe an unpopular opinion, but we're all here for it.
I think. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna say it, the worst thing you can do, I'm going to start there because I think it aligns well to what the best thing you could do is the worst thing you can do is sit down. As I mentioned before, Focus on the business plan. Think your idea to death, literally to the point where you've thought about this idea so much that you have now almost instilled fear in taking action.
Okay. Cause what I find is that when people just sit and imagine and rethink and rethink and rethink and go around the axle, but you've never taken one step forward and I'm not saying quit your job and go do the thing. I mean, keeping your job sitting down with one potential client. And MOC, you know, doing whatever it is or selling a prototype or creating the prototype or talking to a manufacturer that could create your prototype.
It doesn't have to be doing this big thing, but taking one step of action, like the worst thing you can do is not taking action. The best thing you can do is do the next best thing. I, my mentor, who I've already mentioned in this podcast, she said to me, you know, It's really easy to look into the light, meaning that when you go towards something that you want to do and you start making progress, but then you have it like a squirrel idea, right?
You're like squirrel something over here. It's easy to put down that thing that you were just working on and immediately go and do this other thing. Now you're, you're kind of splitting your time, right? You're like separating those things. So. If you see that squirrel idea, and it's interesting, write it down somewhere, put it in your back pocket, but keep doing that thing and taking just the next Spec's best step until you finish it right.
Until you complete it. Or at least you can get some feedback on it and then saying, okay, that other idea that popped in, is that still a good idea? Like, should I still try for that? Because that's what happened to me when I was doing the client work, it was. Okay, I'm doing the next best thing. I'm meeting with the next client.
I'm making the money, I'm putting it in my pocket. I'm earning enough money to now buy myself this or get a new computer or, you know, pay for QuickBooks or whatever it is. But then I was kind of back pocketing all these other ideas that I knew when the time was right. I would pull back out and then focus my energy on that.
So I would just say, don't get overwhelmed by all the, what ifs and could be. And in the future. Just pick one, pick one thing that could move you forward, especially as you're in your job. And this is a side hustle, which I think is a great approach. Um, that wasn't my exact path, but if I could do it again, I, I think I would even be open to doing it as a side hustle and seeing how that grows.
But that would be my guidance for someone in a role. Who's thinking about a side hustle. Do the side hustle. Don't worry about the LLC right away. Don't worry about registering it with the state. Just do something, prove your concept a little bit and then take the next step. Next step. Next step. Next.
[00:37:25] Sanjay Parekh: Okay.
Awesome. Elle, this has been a great conversation. Um, if our listeners want to find you elsewhere, where can they come and find you? Yeah.
[00:37:33] Elle Overholt: Oh my gosh. This has been so fun. Thank you for having me. I hope this was helpful for at least one person today because I would have loved to hear a conversation like this when I was starting.
So thank you for having me, but if you want to either learn more from me about what I specifically do, you can follow us on Instagram at fourth, like Goforth, F O R T H. Underscore LLC. Um, that's where you'll learn more about me and kind of be able to get all of our free content. But if you are someone. If you are someone or, you know, someone who is unhappy in their job, you're not sure if you want to do a side hustle.
If you're like, no, I think I like nine to five. Um, we have a podcast that's called “So… What do you do?” And what I do is I interview everyday professionals. We call it the nine to fivers, right. Which is very different than this podcast. For your everyday job seekers, someone who wants to thrive in a nine to five.
And I interview everyday professionals, accountants, lawyers, financial advisors, medical professionals, nurses, like you name it when someone says, Hey, what do you do? And they're like, I'm a project manager for oil and gas. You're like, cool. What does that mean? We're having those conversations. What do you do every day?
So they're really like bite sized conversations, 20 to 30 minutes each conversation, and we've got one full season up and then we have a second that's being released as we speak. So, um, yeah, that's where you can find me podcasts, apples, Spotify. But if you find me on Instagram, you can easily access the podcast there as well.
[00:39:08] Sanjay Parekh: Yeah. Again, thanks Elle. For being on the podcast.
[00:39:11] Elle Overholt: Absolutely. This has been so much fun. Have a great.
[00:39:15] Sanjay Parekh: Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of the Side Hustle to Small Business Podcast, powered by Hiscox. To learn more about how Hiscox can help protect your small business through intelligent insurance solutions, visit hiscox.com.
I’m your host, Sanjay Parekh. You can find me on Twitter at @sanjay or on my website at sanjayparekh.com
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