Brian Armstrong

Ten Questions With Self-employment Counselor and Business Coach Skip Tierno

Skip Tierno is a self-employment counselor and business coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source, North America’s leading business and franchise consulting organization.

The Entrepreneur’s Source has been helping people achieve self-employment for over twenty years and was ranked among the top consulting franchises in the country by Entrepreneur Magazine.

The Entrepreneur’s Source

I recently got the chance to ask Skip a few questions…

  1. What is the best and worst part of owning a business that most people don’t realize? The best part of owning your own business is your ability to directly affect the results in terms of income, profit, cash flow, as well as your own personal lifestyle such as flexible hours.The worst part is that it still takes a lot of work to be a business owner. Those that are not promoting and marketing their business are relegating themselves to working in the business and thus they just bought themselves a job. Said differently, you get what you put into the business.

Looking at either perspective, as a franchise owner you need to follow the proven system and success will follow.
  1. In your experience, how long does it take new business owners to match or exceed their previous income in a typical 9-to-5 job? It certainly depends on what their previous job/career was and what business they now own. But on average, 12-18 months if it is a new franchise. (Note: I like many other Franchisors do not make earnings claims) A purchase of an existing franchise could shorten that timeline to 6-12 months.For a start-up businesses from scratch, statistics show that it takes 3 years to reach positive cash flow and thus much longer to match or exceed previous income.

  2. What would you say to someone who would love to work for themselves, but has a family to support and is concerned about the risk? The facts show that 70% of the population has a strong desire to be self-sufficient, but only a small number actually find a way to make it happen. Too many people give up on their dreams too soon, when education and guidance could show them the way to success.Within the first two meetings we discuss the issues of Fear and Risks. These range from affordability to fear of failure to the fear of making a mistake. After these are on the table, we talk about them in depth to understand if they can be mitigated effectively. For instance, when someone wants to get a loan for their business we recommend having 6-12 months living expenses factored into their business plan. My role is to coach my clients through their fears so they are comfortable in their journey of discovery. One of the key areas I address up front is risk and if it is too great to overcome for the client I will recommend they wait or address the risk before continuing to explore business ownership.

  3. If only more people knew [blank] they wouldn’t hesitate to start their own business. What is that blank? If more people knew the Facts and Information about business ownership they wouldn’t hesitate to own their own business. Our human nature allows our perceptions and emotion create the myths and misconceptions about business ownership. My coaching provides a fact based system for my clients so they can make a well informed decision.

  4. The Entrepreneur’s Source seems to specialize in the franchise area. For a first time business owner, what are the main benefits of going the franchise route? The Entrepreneur’s Source,, has been ranked in the Franchise 500 for the past 9 years.

The benefits of a franchise are :

* Franchises have been operating for over 30 years and are represented in over 75 industries. That equals brand recognition.

* Franchisors look for those people who want to be in the business of business and not the technicians.

* Franchises are regulated.

* Franchises provide a proven system and training and ongoing support.

* Franchising provides a structure, a proven way of doing business so that franchisees can concentrate on marketing, promoting and managing the business.

A recent Price Waterhouse Cooper study showed there are over 750,000 franchised businesses generating over $1.5 trillion to the US economy.
  1. Can a franchise owner still have the lifestyle they love? I’ve heard that they work 12 hour days just to keep the shop open! We recommend to all of our clients to read the book, The Entrepreneur Mythby Michael Gerber. This addresses the issue of working “in” the business vs. working “on” the business.By working with a coach to find the business to match their goals, needs and expectations, a potential business owner will know before they own the business what their hours will be and the lifestyle they will be living.

  2. Can you tell us about a recent client you worked with and how they accomplished their goals of self employment? Certainly! Recently a person who was employed by a reputable company came to me and indicated that he was going to be downsized in 3 months. He wanted to explore business ownership and take control of his destiny. After working through our process of our educational and validation compartments he explored 3-4 business models and reached clarity on an existing franchise that was up for sale. We coached him through the business plan and negotiations, pointed him in the direction of legal and financial resources and by the 6th month he was a business owner. In fact, in just 4 short months he has nearly doubled revenue for his business. That is a success story! In fact I have a vested interested in my clients success and I stay in touch with them routinely to provide support.

  3. I’m not sure what type of business I should start. Where can I get some ideas? I recommend that you should start by doing a self-assessment from the inside out. Specifically, what are your goals, needs and lifestyle desires for the next 3, 5, 10 years out. Include financial, family, health, community and other areas in your assessment. Then start thinking about types of businesses. In the meantime visit www.franchisesearch.comto look at specific businesses and industries.

  4. I’m already swamped at my current job and don’t have much time on weekends. Do I have to quit to transition into self-employment? Not at all! In fact there are businesses and franchises that are synergistic with having a full time job. Being an absentee or semi-absentee owner can be as fulfilling as being a full time owner of a business.

  5. What books (or other educational products) do you recommend to your clients? Additional books/tapes that I recommend are :

* As stated earlier definitely [The E-Myth]( Michael Gerber.

* [Who Took My Money]( Robert Kiyosaki

* [The On Purpose Person]( Kevin McCarthy

* [The 360 Degree Leader]( John Maxwell.

* [click here](, or leave a comment below. If Skip has time he may respond to your comment.