Keep Calm and Carry On
Michele Hansen 0:00
Hi, it's me again. I just wanted to give you a little updates at the end of the week here. Gosh, this is sounding more and more like me, calling up an old friend and leaving them a voicemail. But you're not, we're just gonna go with it, we're gonna act like it as a completely normal thing to call up an old friend from high school, and ramble about taxes to them. I don't know, is that what Getting old is like is that I mean, maybe I will be doing that at some point. I guess I just didn't think it was happening now. Right? Anyway, okay. So today, we hit 400 signatures, which is fantastic. At this pace, I am pretty confident that we are going to hit 500, which is a very, very respectable number. That is how many the small biotechs had finding their letter, I still feel like 1000 is possible. And I know that there are more than 1000. You know, small, small companies out there who are impacted. But if we send at 500, that is phenomenal. Really anything on top of that is gravy. So that's where we're at. And a huge part of that is because of two people who sent this out to their newsletters this week. So I have to give a huge shout out to Justin Jackson and Corey Haines, for sending out and ask to sign this on their newsletters this week, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it, how much I appreciate you lending your audience to this issue to them getting involved, like I know, like a lot of us try not to touch anything remotely related to politics with a 10 foot pole. And, but this, this impacts all of us so much. And I you know, I was telling someone earlier, I didn't expect government relations policy stuff to be something we would have to deal with until we had at least 10 million, which is you know, and or sorry, 100 million, to at least 100 million, which is when a lot of you know, companies like you know, Facebook, Stripe, etc. Like hire their first dc person, right and really get involved. And here we are. But yes, so thank you, Justin and Cory, go sign up for their newsletters, show them some love, they have just been an amazing help. To too is getting to this point. So as I stand here, right now we're at 401. Now there were about 100 people who signed up for this effort before the letter was available. And about half of those people have resigned. And you know, before I put somebody's company name on a letter to Congress, like I want to be 100% certain that they want it there. So I need all those people to resign it and they have gotten an email in the past about this. But if you're not sure, and you sign up before the letter without just go and resign it, that helps a lot. Right now, we also have 46 states plus DC who have signed it's very, very important that we have all 50 States signed this letter. We still need people from Alaska, South Dakota, Mississippi and New Mexico. So if you know people who have an indie SAS company in one of those states, if they run an agency that serves a lot of small software companies, that also helps, right, I'm starting to see more and more of those folks sign up because they are realizing that they are an are an E expense for their customers and they will no longer be able to you know, that's going to shrink their own customer base. So, yes, so if you know anybody and Alaska, South Dakota, Mississippi, or New Mexico, who's doing this, you know, bootstraps in deep sass. It doesn't even have to be SAS, really, but like, who's doing, you know, small software of some sort. Please reach out to them personally and ask them to sign. I think that also made a really big difference was people were reaching out to others directly and asking them, Hey, can you sign this? And then, you know, can you tweet about it as well? There's one thing between seeing it show up on your timeline and tweeting about it, and then someone specifically reaching out to you and asking you to sign. So that's really making an impact. But at this rate, I think we're definitely gonna hit 500 and we need to hit all 50 states. So, given this and I'm kind of putting together the the sort of the media plan for how we get this to Congress in front And in front of the media, which is about 10 days from from as I record this right now, I'm going to extend the deadline for signatures until April 12. So there's there's a couple of big pushes going out at the end of next week, it is going to take some time to format all of this right, all the company names have to be alphabetized, you know, people signed twice, I need to sort of D dupe. So the last big push is going out on the 12. If people are still trickling in on the 13th, that's fine. But we're really going sort of letter freeze shortly there after that, but if we keep up this momentum, I mean, I woke up this morning, and I had 39 emails, and most of them were people signing the letter, which is fantastic. If we keep up this pace, if people keep putting it in their newsletters, we are we are definitely gonna get north of 500. And that is huge. I mean, just think about us as a community, like we don't have any kind of presence in DC. Most people in the broader economy don't know what we do. I mean, I have a T shirt that says I have a fake internet job, because most people don't realize that like running a small software company is even a thing, right? Nevermind that it's great most of the time, right? Except when we deal with this kind of stuff. And I just so fervently believe in our way of life. That, you know, for for so many people, especially developers, like the path to happiness is not climbing the corporate ladder, it's striking out on your own and knowing that you have that option and feeling supported as you do that, and having a community around, you know, around you to help you with that. And, and so I feel like we're defending our way of life here. It sounds kind of dramatic, but that's why I'm pouring so much energy into this even though it is quite frankly, exhausting me and I a little bit yearn for the days when I woke up and I had five emails. So that's where we are. Things are looking really good, we have to keep pushing. And I think as more and more people get their tax bills, and they realize that this is happening the the people reaching out to me the stories are getting worse and worse, like, you know, taking out loans. And I mean, I don't know, I we just all know how hard is to get banks to work with us normally, right. So so so how do we how do we kind of get through this right? Not only financially, but also mentally, because I think it's really difficult for us as entrepreneurs, when it feels like kind of the world is on fire around you. And how do you focus and keep going and, you know, keep yourself calm and your team calm. And so taking a slightly different tack on this, I talked to Tyler teargas and Arvid Cole on their new podcast about keeping calm as an entrepreneur through this. And, and, and so I think it's, I think it's, you know, worth you listening to I liked talking to them. And I am adding them on here and on this episode. And again, if you have a podcast, and it's going to come out before you know, Thursday, Thursday, Friday of next week, please mention this on your podcast. If you have a newsletter, please mention this in your newsletter. It's it's making a huge difference. And it's it's really helping get this in front of people. And I think we're almost moving beyond the point when people need to be aware of the issue, but more like people are impacted and they feel trapped because they don't feel like they can do anything about it. They don't feel like they have any ability to influence Congress. And this is our opportunity to do so. And so trying to get it in front of people who are already aware that this is a problem and casting as wide of a possible net as we can to people who are aware this is a problem or now they are uncertain about it and feeling like they have probably filed their taxes wrong at their accountants advice and are worried about it or are you know, sort of second you know, second degree impacted? Like, you know, copywriters, you know, SEO agencies, stuff like that, who are
now just seeing that they're there even if they are not an r&d expense that their customers are going to have less cash flow for everything because of this. So, so yes, so I guess I should end my rambling, voicemail, podcast, whatever you want to call it. With just with just a thanks again, I am incredibly heartened to see our community coming together to fight this. This is the beginning for us. We are nearing, as Winston Churchill said the end of the beginning, which is when we send a letter. And I still feel very confident that we can push this that we will shake this up that making it clear that this is a small business issue will hopefully remove some of the political hurdles that have that have hindered this in the past, and that we'll be able to get this done for work together.
Arvid Kahl 10:59
All right, this is Arvid. And Tyler catch up. And today we have a special guest on the show, Michele Hansen, the co founder of JUCO to assess business that provides hassle free geocoding. She's also the author of a very practical book called deploy empathy, of which I own two copies, one of which has signed. So you know, it's I care about the book. And now she's an entrepreneurial activist as well. And we'll catch up with each other. So let's get started. Tyler, what have you been up to this week?
Tyler Tringas 11:30
This week has been really interesting. We've been doing a lot of work on leveraging sort of automation and AI internally at the fund. So we've been kind of just going nuts on a lot of little things where we've got little bots going around and summarizing things out of our CRM and turning it into a feed for us and quick commands that we can call right out of our slack to go and send little GPT powered bots to go and do tasks for us. And it's been a really fun sort of deep dive, we are actually going to be spinning out a couple of these as as really, really micro sasses. Sometime in the next couple of weeks. There, they're going to be more experiments than full fledged products. But that's what we've been working on a bit this week.
Arvid Kahl 12:17
So cool. Yeah, I've been having a lot of illustrations on Twitter, right. But as that is my job, apparently about AI and the impact that AI has on bootstrapped businesses, SAS businesses, I wish we all would have time to experiment with AI. But there are more pressing problems. And we'll get to that in a minute. One thing that I've been doing this week, is preparing my little sada talk, really, but it's a roundtable discussion that I'm going to be facilitating at this year's micro con for us in Denver in a couple of weeks from now, just kind of crazy thinking about that, that stuff just sneaks up on you. I'll be I'll be like hosting a little roundtable about the challenges of entrepreneurship, from SAS and Bootstrap to entrepreneurship in particular, because I guess I've been talking a lot about mental health issues, and just like dealing with things. And today, again, we're going to be discussing one of these super impactful, super stressful anxiety inducing things that you just have to deal with, and try to stay calm through. So I want to encourage people to have a little conversation about this. Not a little an actual conversation, honest, eager and peer based conversation. So what I'm going to be doing, and I obviously have to prepare for this right set people up to have as productive discussion as possible. So I've been working on this. And then obviously, the AI topic is still going on with all the new things. And we can talk about that later, too. But I do want to pass this conversation to Michelle now because she probably had a an amazing week as what have you been doing? For the last couple days?
Michele Hansen 13:55
I have been having a lot of phone calls. So many calls, which, you know, as as a founder of a calm company. Most of us probably don't say what did you do yesterday? Oh, I spent four hours on calls talking about taxes. But that's what I've been working on. Because I mean, we just went through sales tax compliance last year and are still kind of working out a last couple last few things with that. You know, we are in we are a US company, but we live in Denmark and Denmark doesn't have the concept of LLCs. And so now we're in the middle of a gigantic International Tax mess. And then the US Congress, they changed the part of the tax code that deals with software development, which is giving everyone massive increases in their tax bills. And so I don't even think I can count the number of accountants that I'm talking to you Lately, like I need to hire an accountant to count all of my accountants. And that's, you know, honestly, that's the kind of thing we don't really talk about. But that's, you know, when you have a business that's kind of post product market fit, right, like, and I don't know where this inflection point is, for me, it felt like, things got way more on the operations side, in a way that I hadn't really heard people talk about, like, when we got like, over the 2 million error, Mark. But yeah, I mean, honestly, I, I'm kind of jealous of your week, Tyler, like, playing with Chet GPT. And like, I mean, I saw some of the bots in the calm slack. And there was somebody like trying to get it to write a press release about like an oil spill or something, but like, put in, like puns about it. And it was so funny. It was, it was it was so funny.
Tyler Tringas 15:56
I wish that was my entire week. But yeah. Man, oh, well, I don't envy you. But in part, one of the reasons we did want to have you on to talk about a couple of things we want to talk about, you know, a couple of the normal topics that we typically cover here, but we were chatting with you about this, this issue of section 174 in the tax code. And we thought, you know, the audience of folks that that listen to this are probably going to be particularly impacted and should be moved to act. So we want to just dive right into that, if that makes sense. Do you think just like,
Arvid Kahl 16:35
I want to dive into Texas, I love Texas, man, this is this is my topic. So
Tyler Tringas 16:40
yeah. So a little bit of context, what we're gonna do is we're gonna get a deep dive on what's I think we're gonna get a, a primer on what's going on, maybe not the full deep dive, that one can be saved for the accountants, we're gonna get a status update on what's going on with the tax code, how it's going to affect founders of software companies in particular. And then we're going to talk a little about what you can do about it. And then I want to shift the topic as well to kind of the mental game aspect of dealing with stuff like this, especially as it seems to be, you know, every month, there's a new thing. And so I'd love to talk a little bit about that. But starting with just what is it? What's going on with section 174? Michelle?
Michele Hansen 17:22
Yes. And so before I launch into that, the disclaimer that the experts I have been talking to have told me to say every time I talk about this is that I am not a tax accountant and to get advice about your specific situation. Talk to a tax accountant. Yeah. Okay. So section 174 is the part of the tax code that deals with what is called research and experimental activities. And this includes software development, and has for over 60 years. And the reason why we're talking about it is that for in all that time, companies have had the option to either expense, those r&d expenses, or they could amortize them. And now I should note that this is different than the r&d tax credit, this likely applies to you, even if you don't take the r&d tax credit, even if you don't think you're doing our N E or r&d, because while we are still waiting for the IRS to define what software development is, because they have never had to do that before, even though it is in the tax code. The way big companies and their very well paid accountants are interpreting this is that this is not only new product development, and all of the costs that go into that servers, salaries, everything, market research, also new feature development on existing products. And so when people think about r&d, they tend to think, oh, that's when you're doing something that's very, very experimental, you know, maybe you're building a new product, and you're also completely building your own new framework way of doing that. And then okay, maybe in that case, all apply for this r&d tax credit. This is different than that this applies to things you are already doing and have already done. Because this took effect starting January 1 2022. And the reason why you're just hearing about it now is that when Congress made this change in 2017, they actually intended to revert the change before it took effect for 2022. And so at the end of last year, there was a lot of conversation in Congress about repealing this and reverting section 174 to give us the option to expense. And that kind of fell through the last minute. And so now we're in a situation where companies who you know, let's say they spent $100,000 to pay a developer to build a new product last year, plus, let's say another $5,000 and other expenses like servers and you know, other licenses, maybe that one is that right? So of that $105,000. Normally, they would just take that off the top of their taxable income. Instead that has to be amortized, which means it has to be spread out over many years. And for the first year, you can only take 10% of that. And the other part of that is now profit, apparently. Right. And but it's not real profit, because you've already spent that money. And so it's phantom profit. And we're small companies, we're not really following tax policy. Right. And so all of us are finding out about this now, and like there are founders who are getting tax bills that are 466%, higher than they anticipated. And are freezing hiring laying people off. Yeah. taking out loans. It's, it's very serious. And it's just wild that Congress never intended for this to go into effect. And they have been intending to repeal it, but just haven't gotten around to it.
Tyler Tringas 21:08
Yeah, got it. So just to kind of maybe play back some of the highlights here. This tax code change that is effective as of actually last year, right. So it's for this year's taxes, it affects most of what we would consider software development, right. So the salaries of software developers the inputs, right, AWS bills, basically, if you run a SaaS business, a lot of your costs may be excluding, like customer support or design, but anybody doing, you know, software development, a big chunk of that we don't know exactly how much but a large portion of that is going to be affected. And instead of being able to just write it off on your taxes in the normal way that you would do with all of your salaries, basically, right? I mean, most people's taxes, everybody gets paid. And that gets deducted from profit and profits just above that, specifically, your software development stuff is actually going to have to be spread out over someone routine is five years or 15 years, depending on Yeah,
Michele Hansen 22:07
years for us expenses and 15 for international.
Tyler Tringas 22:11
So the point being
Arvid Kahl 22:16
crazy, right? Yeah, we didn't even have a word for nd businesses 15 years ago, like indie SAS businesses, that that might be a rather new thing comparatively, right?
Michele Hansen 22:25
I mean, this is the problem, right? Is that even if you can get these expenses spread out over five years, is the business going to make it that long? And especially that first year is tough, right? Because if we have to split out new features and new products from maintenance work, so like bug fixes, for example? Do we all have to be time tracking all the time? Right? Like, oh, I spent I use the staging server for 15 minutes to test this new feature. But then I used it for 15 minutes to work on this bug fix. Yeah, we haven't been time tracking that. Right. Yeah. Like it's an administrative headache, too.
Tyler Tringas 23:01
Yeah, just to again, put the a little bit of context on the impact here. Is it fair to say I mean, again, we're not accountants, but I think you can just sort of squint your eyes and look at the effect of this, it is a sort of show, there's a sort of, you know, inverted curve here of how the effect is going to happen, where the first year is going to absolutely suck. But eventually, they kind of start to pile on top of each other. So if you can sort of make it to the other side, you won't have such a dramatic year over year impact, because you'll have previous year's costs starting like four years from now, you know, you're you're not going to be in such bad shape, assuming you can make it there, of course, but it's not like forever and all time, every single tax year is going to go up by 500%. It's just this really acute thing right now, like your one year two, that could sink businesses, right. And it also just makes the businesses less profitable over time as well, is that the right way to think about how the basic math kind of works with us?
Michele Hansen 23:59
Yeah, I think that's fair. And I think it will also change how people run their businesses. And, you know, there are people who run pretty lean operations, and they're basically taking out all the money at the end of the month. You can't do that. And, and so it's, it's if you make it through the first two years of this, then, you know, we'll hopefully have figured out a way to live with this by that point. But considering that Congress never intended for this to go into effect, and they're still intending to repeal it, they just haven't gotten around to it. I see no reason for us to wait for 1000s and 1000s of small businesses to go out of business and 1000s more to never even come into existence.
Tyler Tringas 24:44
Gotcha. And so we've got two things that are pending, that, you know, we're sort of waiting for, you know, more information that could dramatically change this. Presumably it can only get better from where it is right now. The first one One would be clarification on what is software development? Right? You're saying that the IRS has not really clarified what that is? It's, you know, there's, I guess some chance that they could provide a narrower definition that wouldn't have so much of these costs be affected? Like, correct me if that's wrong. And then the second piece being pending legislation that would just I'm guessing what's on the table? And I think you've looked at some of the prepared documents, it's just all this goes away, or is there a kind of new status quo that's being proposed? In these legislations? Is it like switch off go right back to 100% deduction? Or is some other squishy or middle ground being proposed?
Michele Hansen 25:43
Right, so the first one, we are waiting for final IRS guidance, because everyone in Washington expected this to be reverted before it took effect, the IRS didn't issue the full guidance. going back years like from from the time that they made this change in 2017, it was expected to be reverted. And big companies have been talking to Congress since 2019, sending them letters being like, hey, remember that thing that you intended to revert before it goes into effect? Let's not forget that. And they still haven't done it. So yes, we are still waiting for full guidance from the IRS. We only have partial guidance at this point. And then the other part is, there has already been legislation introduced in the Senate, there are 21 co sponsors and counting. That number is going up. I just checked it again today and it was up. The problem is, is that tax bills never get voted on on their own stand alone. And from what I've been reading and talking to people the soonest opportunity, barring Congress, understanding how urgent of a crisis this is for small businesses would be at the end of September. And there are three bills that are an option at the end of September to put this in, or it gets pushed to the end of the year again. Now the problem with this is, first of all, people are having trouble paying their tax bills right now. So even waiting until September, and you know, and these bills would make it retroactive to 2022. So you would get a refund. But most small businesses are not in the position to float the IRS a couple $100,000 or more for six to nine months, while Congress gets this tangled up and other issues, which is what happened in December. So we are sending a coalition letter to Congress, which is a very effective tool, a group of small biotech companies sent one to Congress recently, and then a senator mentioned it in a hearing last week. So these are very effective, sending a letter to Congress telling them that this is a problem for small software businesses. And that this is an urgent crisis that needs an immediate solution. Otherwise, small software businesses will start going out of business.
Tyler Tringas 27:57
There's too, let's maybe go ahead and pivot to what founders, owners of software companies can do. What would you recommend, you know, if you're a US based company that's going to be affected by this? How should you best take action?
Michele Hansen 28:14
Yes, so if you are a US based founder, which is a citizen or resident of the US with a US company, whether that is a side project, or a larger one that has employees, you should go to SSP. alliance.org, and sign the coalition letter. This letter is going to be delivered to Congress before tax day. So sign up before April 10. Go there, sign the letter. You know, all of you know me as an indie founder. You don't know this, because I don't talk about it very much until now that I started out working in DC. And so I am using every connection, I've got to make this happen. And to get this into the right hands and directly into Congress. People are very receptive. And again, there's people who've been working on this for four years now. And it hasn't gotten through. So we are hoping that by bringing small businesses into the conversation, we can not only help Congress understand that this is urgent. But also that, you know, this isn't just a big business issue, right? This this is this is having very serious impact. And it's not just for software companies, either. It's biotechs is manufacturing small and large. And so the thing that people can do that will make an impact is go to SSP. alliance.org, and sign the coalition letter.
Tyler Tringas 29:36
And then would you recommend they reach out to their representative as well?
Michele Hansen 29:40
Not at this point. Yeah, so we will be doing follow ups as it is strategically helpful. Okay, so this kind of just depends on the situation in Congress and what's going on there. So there have already been indie founders who are in strategically important places that have been connected with Hill staff and had an opportunity to talk about how this is directly impacting their business, because members listened to people in their own districts or their own states. And I just connected a whole bunch of people this morning, as well. And so if people go to the, the SSP alliance.org, and they sign the coalition letter, I also ask for your full address, which are used to match to your congressional district. It's a weird thing, where it's like, I also built the software that tells you what people's congressional district is. So it's quite a exercise in dogfooding. Yeah, so. So yes. So then, as you know, particular areas are helpful, I'm reaching out to people individually, you know, if you, if you call your congressperson or use their contact form, that is helpful, their staff is required to keep tabs on every person who calls in or writes in about every issue. So that is helpful. But you know, if we get to the point I, if you go through that the form, then I can also connect you with staff, as long as it's helpful.
Tyler Tringas 31:15
Perfect. Okay, that's awesome. First of all, thank you so much for doing all this work. I mean, you're not getting paid for this. You are obviously incentivized, like the rest of us, in terms of having this kind of a business is going to be affected. But it's awesome that you stepped up and did this work. So really, really appreciate that. So I think maybe let's take a another turn here and say, What can founder still do from there? Right? Okay. So they've done this, they've gone to the SSP alliance, they've signed it, they are standing ready and waiting to call at, you know, whenever the moment arrives, they've done their duty to sort of, you know, try and nudge Congress in the right direction. Let's take two parts first is like, what what can you do in your business? What would you do? What are you doing in your business? Maybe Arvid? I'd be curious what you think, like hypothetically, as well, because I don't think you have a US based business. But let's just say you have a USP SAS business, how would you be? Do? You do have?
Arvid Kahl 32:17
My little? Yeah, it's not that effective. Because it's, you know, I run it by myself. And it's not that profitable. So no problem for me. But you know, it's still a it's still an issue that I'm concerned with. One of the things that blows my minds about this two things. First off, the fact that in the founders now have to deal with US law, like the fact that we, we need to impact legislation, as people who are way too busy to impact anything but their own business and the market that they're trying to serve. It's crazy. Like, we don't have a legal department in our businesses, right? We don't have a, like a public relations department, or anybody who could deal with these things. While we build our business I, it's now deal with the tax stuff, or deal with the business both is probably problematic or overwhelming for people. And the other thing is the only bank that could have helped us with this are US based founders just exploded two weeks ago. So that's a problem they get. It seems to be this perfect storm of things that are surprising to people, even though now in retrospect, we look at it and we think, well, we should have done something about this much earlier. Right? It feels like it's all coming at us at incredible speed out of nowhere. And it blows my mind and the fact that now we have to deal with this as founders. That is bad. But now answering your question. Honestly, like going into this recession, I've been thinking a lot about like building a war chest. I did not think about building a war chest to be able to pay taxes that I don't need to pay. Like it feels like one of these things. Where bootstrap business is in its leanness and its agility can usually use its revenue, its earnings, that it has possible earnings that go beyond just paying for expenses to invest in itself. It turns out that investing in yourself now includes putting money aside for these unforeseen circumstances. So yeah, in my own business, which is a Canadian media business, I am now saving money, knowing that, you know, it's not the same situation and it's probably not going to happen here in Canada, but I'm not thinking about I need at least a tiny little war chest in case there is a 5x tax burden on me in the future, which is unfortunate, because that is money that could be spent on many other things that are not just hoping that other people are less incompetent. You know, that's kind of what this is about for me, like tax tax law should be handled in a competent way, which it hasn't been. And that's a problem. But yeah, war chest. That's what it is like going into any kind of economic downturn. Usually, you need some kind of financial liquidity. And it turns out bootstrap businesses are now at a slight disadvantage compared to VC funds. businesses that have or I don't know, I mean, fortunately still have after the explosion of SBB, some kind of money that enables them to pay for this. Yeah, I would like to hear what, Michelle, what you're doing in your business to deal with this, because this sounds like a terrible threat, really, to the existence of a SaaS business.
Michele Hansen 35:23
Yeah. And before I get into that, I want to note that this likely impacts businesses, even if you aren't profitable on a normal accounting basis, because unless that business is just sitting there, and you only occasionally fix a bug or reply to a support question, but you don't add, like, if you add any new features, if you're doing any improvements to it, then all of that is r&d that is covered under 174. And so you could be losing money probably on a on a regular accounting basis and still owe taxes. Yeah, even later are exactly it's artificially inflating your revenue.
Arvid Kahl 36:07
Yeah, that's important to know. And maybe one thing before, before I throw this back at you, like if if you are a founder that's not based in the United States at this moment, and you're just waking up, the last 10 minutes of conversation that didn't really concern you, it's still important for you to take action and just talk to people about this, who may not be aware of this, because it's not just founders who may not be aware of this from from me following Michelle, your, your podcasts and everything you've been talking about. It's also accountants that are occasionally not aware of this change in the States. So if you are if you are a founder that or if you are a foreigner that knows foreigners in the States, reach out to them, tell them about this, hopefully, they know about this already, and have dealt with this or ask the accountant what's going on. But people that there's a lack of awareness on many levels here, and we should do our best, even if we're not directly affected, to help our community because it's what you said, we're not lawyers, we're not accountants, this is not legal advice. But we're founders who want to help our founders succeed. They're in a peer group, right? We want them to not be bankrupt. So it's now on us to help spread the word. Really, I'm glad you're on the show and talking about this, even though this is boring taxes. Well, it's it's life threatening boring taxes, right? This is something it's getting me worked up, that's usually happening, maybe tax home, or then let's talk about how you stay calm. That's a wonderful,
Michele Hansen 37:25
I want to note that there are a lot of founders who don't live in the US, but have us LLCs have USC corpse. And unfortunately, you're not US citizens or US residents, you don't have the ability to petition Congress for a redress of grievances. But I know you're there. And I'm thinking of you. And I know that we are fighting for ourselves and for you as well. But I recognize that that there are a lot of people who are paying a much higher tax bill in not their home currency. So probably also paying exchange fees in the course of that, who are impacted and don't really have any recourse except for spreading the word. And so and that is incredibly powerful. Powerful, because we're trying to drive 1000 signatures on this. Yeah. And so that is very helpful. In terms of staying calm. Oh, sorry. Go ahead. I actually,
Tyler Tringas 38:27
like just one practical question. I want to see what y'all think about this. I mean, how would you evaluate? I don't think we want to give anyone advice on this topic is now the topic I'm about to bring up, because we're now also combining tax and legal as well as sort of business and maybe debt considerations. But how would you how would you think through yourself, you know, it seems to me like, as things go, the likelihood of this getting resolved on a one to two year time horizon seems pretty good, right? You've got bills in Congress, you've got bipartisan support, you've got big companies and small companies all aligned on the same page, you have, you know, alliances really working on this? You know, it seems to me like I would say, probably this gets resolved on some longer time horizon. And the main question is, does it get resolved fast enough? How would you think through the question of, let's say, I need to take out a loan or loan the company some money or even raised some capital, I'm thinking about this right now, should we be creating some sort of product for these companies to raise some sort of short term one year capital or something, to plug that gap on the basis that probably in the next one to two years, you're going to get it reversed and you'll get a big tax refund, and you just need to bridge that gap? How would you think through making that bet as a as a founder, if you didn't have the cash on hand if you didn't already have the Watch has to just cut the check and be mad about it, you know, like you actually had to come up with the money somehow or go out of business.
Michele Hansen 40:07
I think that's a very personal decision for people, especially those who are in that position of receiving the higher tax bill. Again, I haven't gotten mine yet. Like I, I actually need to in my email and accountant this week about it. And it's creating great uncertainty for me. And I know that we run our business quite conservatively. And so I am hopeful that we will be able to stomach that for this year. People who have been running leaner operations, which is most small businesses are in a state of panic. And I think I guess I first have to say that I don't, it's difficult to put myself in that mindset, right, of someone who was fighting for their life. From my position. I think also that, you know, the economic work environment we are in access to capital is difficult for most companies right now. Arvid mentioned SVB, right. I mean, like, there's so many founders, that was the only bank that would give them a mortgage, right? I mean, it's hard enough to get banks to work with small software businesses and small software founders during normal economic times. And so if there are people who have capital, and that is a an investment decision that they're able to make, I think they should explore whether that makes sense for them is something they could pull off. It's a very different kind of hedge to be sort of betting on congressional action. It's putting founders in a very difficult position, right? It's do I use a home equity line of credit? Do I use my credit card? Like, how long is this going to take? How long do I eat the interest from this? Right? And will I get it back from the IRS with interest as well? It creating some very, very difficult decisions for people.
Tyler Tringas 42:15
Cool. Okay. That makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think this is sparked a very interesting thought for me, which I hadn't occurred. And so we started talking that this might be something that I can potentially help with, with our fund, maybe, oh, yeah. I'm going to pull that thread, maybe on Twitter and see if there's a couple folks who'd be interested to explore it. Because, you know, I mean, at the end of the day, you're talking about fundamentally sound businesses, right, that are going to take a short term, you know, massive cash flow hit, right. It's a liquidity crisis, just like all the other ones we've been dealing with, right? Where fundamentally, operationally good businesses might need to come up with cash, they don't have on a short term basis. And, you know, there are levers you can pull. Yeah, there are levers.
Michele Hansen 43:01
Like, these are sound businesses. They just, you know, this is gonna be a crisis for three months. You know, yeah. And we just need to fund them, you know, the restaurants like they can survive, you know, if we just pay them for three months, right? Yeah, it's a little bit similar, right? These are otherwise sound businesses that only because of some, just just a bit, I'm struggling to describe it without swearing. Yeah, exactly. situation. Businesses be, you know, are in this difficult position.
Tyler Tringas 43:38
Yeah. Okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna step right up to the line here and give some some advice on how to interact with your accountant, which is not the same as actual tax advice. But something I think, is really valuable. I remember I heard, I think Nick Huber made this point really eloquently, which is that your accountant is not a traffic cop enforcing the IRS rules on you, although a lot of them act that way. A lot of them basically, like take the rules, and they try to like, put on to you like, here's exactly what you have to do. If they come to you, and they say, this is exactly what you have to do. And you're like, well, that's gonna put me out of business. Right? Make sure that you take a moment to turn it back around to them and say, What can we do? Explain to me like, what are the legal the legal and totally like, you know, acceptable, but what options do we actually have? Can we file for an extension? Right? That would at least give me another six months of breathing room or something like that. Just make sure that you don't let because I think a lot of people have this relationship where, you know, they it kind of feels like their accountant works for the IRS, and is there just like telling them what to do and remind them that they work for you. And so of course, you don't want to override them. You do want to follow the rules, but like have that last layer of conversation to say, this is a really big deal for me. What can you help me try to figure out if there's any options that apply to my specific situation, and make sure you have that last layer of conversation with them? Because there may be some things like, especially if we think there's at least some probability this gets fixed in the future, things that can just simply delay the actual cash needs for this or that can parse it out over multiple years. So you only have to pay a fraction again, like this is not advice. I'm just saying, Ask these questions. Have this conversation with your accountant in that moment?
Michele Hansen 45:33
Yeah. I mean, so it,
Tyler Tringas 45:36
just let me dangle myself out there on that one.
Michele Hansen 45:38
So I want to agree with that. But first, it is my understanding that even if you do file an extension, which we have, you still owe the taxes in April. And so if you don't pay them, then you owe them plus penalties. And again, I think to your point is, you may make a calculated decision that is, I'm going to pay the penalties for this year, for what what would my taxes have been this year? What are the penalties, but this is not tax advice. But there are options right there and asking your accountant to lay out all of your options. And asking them to think outside the box. And you were allowed to do that, you know, somebody told me, once you were allowed to optimize your taxes, it is not against the law to optimize your taxes, you cannot evade taxes, you can't change your software developers title to I don't know, like window cleaner, and then just expect it to not have any Texas us that's fraud. I'm not a lawyer, but that's fraud. So but it is not, it is not against the law to optimize your tax situation and work with your accountant to optimize your tax situation. The difficult thing for businesses now is that 2022 has already ended. And so if there are optimizations that you could have done, there aren't going to be as many options, but like the IRS has payment plans there like there are, you know, there are options, right. And I think, you know, in terms of getting into steps that people can do, as they're looking at this, I think that's the first one is have a conversation with your accountant, and work through all of the options with them. From what it looks like, to me, it's very clear that every company that has these r&d expenses, the software development expenses, chiefly among them for for folks like us, there will be a higher tax bill than that we had anticipated. And so as I thought about this going into this year, I mean, notwithstanding my own other personal tax hairballs that I'm sorting out, you know, the first thing was okay, you know, what are the plans we have for the year? And how can we scale those back, right, like we went into this year, seeing that a bunch of big tech companies were laying people off, and we were like, hey, you know what, we're super busy. Maybe this is a good time for us to hire another engineer, like a lot of good people have just been laid off people we know. That conversation has gone, right? During normal years, if a friend of ours is holding our conference, and they ask us to sponsor, usually I say yes. Brand Marketing like that is not happening this year. And so that's the first thing is just kind of looking at plans and looking at what are the most obvious places to cut. The second one is the more sort of really looking at places to cut, right, which is a common thing that you do going into recession. So for us, we pulled back on all non core spending, which I mean, unfortunately, for us, like meant, like we're not participating in conflict for and we've been participating in the other funds like but this, we just can't. It also means we are you know, poring through all the services we're using, and like, you know, we were paying data dog $1,000 A month, even though we had planned to get rid of it six months ago. And it was like, Alright, that is getting ripped out. Right now that bill is no longer happening. Right. And so just going through line by line, what are all the things we spent money on this last year? You know, we don't have a formal budget. I just kind of know all this in my head, which is probably not the coolest way to run it. But while you're sending your accountant, all of your information for last year and figuring what you owe in taxes, that's a really good time to look through all of those expenses and be like, Did we really need to be spending money on this? Do I know what this is like? Is this is this a core expense? Like is this a cost of goods sold expense? Do we have to do this in order to provide our software? Or is this something that we can cancel, can we use something cheaper is this like, and just kind of really taking a rough look through your budget? But again, I mean, there's, you know, I think there's, it's I don't want to downplay that sometimes budgeting advice when people are in a massive financial crisis can feel a little bit like telling people to stop eating avocado toast in order to save for a house, right? Like, you know, if you if you need $500,000, like, not paying $5 a day for toast is like not going to cut it. Right. And so I don't want to downplay the, the series of madness that puts us and you know, Arvid to what you said earlier about, like having a war chest like, I mean, I like I mentioned in my book, how I manage our customers like, like a portfolio. And that's how I prioritize what kind of marketing I'm doing, what kind of customers I'm talking to, what I'm pulling out of that as and looking at all of our customers saying, Okay, we've got 20% in real estate, this was a portfolio, that would be too much. Let's purposefully move into other sectors, right? Not necessarily we fire all those customers, we love our real estate customers, but maybe having more in other sectors would be helpful, like a portfolio, right. And so, for me, personally, I have done a lot of work for years now to try to prepare for recession. And what I did not prepare for was boneheaded tax policy. That that we get charged taxes on something that Congress doesn't even think they should be charging us taxes on. Like, yeah, like, just the level of insanity is mind boggling. And I just think, you know, you're right, I'll calm down. Okay. You know, the more you think about it, the more frustrating it gets, which for me, I think, you know, you get to a certain point in the business, kind of, as you were saying, Tyler, that you have to ask yourself, Is this a problem I need to be worrying about? Is this a problem I need to be handling myself? Can I pay somebody to worry about this and take care of it for me? Right. And I feel like that was, it's a very big stage for a lot of founders to go through. For most people, you have your accountant to worry about this for you. Maybe there are other people in the community that you know, that you can bring in, maybe you have a good relationship with a bank, maybe Tyler pull something together, right? Like, maybe you have options to maybe your accountant knows of some options, right? If you're having trouble paying this, you have them. And also, you can sign the letter to Congress. And if there is more that you personally need to do on this, I will tell you otherwise, you can offload that to me. I'm taking this on as a side project until it's fixed. I'm in the weird position of being the indie founder that knows a bunch of people in DC and never thought those things would ever interact with one another. And we'll take it from there, right, but spending all of your time thinking about this and trying to parse out the legislative chests around it. Like, it's not a productive use of your time. And even when I start started thinking about doing this as a as a project, I was like, Do I really need to be the person doing this? Right? Like, it's like having arguments on the internet? Do I need to be a person in this argument? Do I have to be like, am I specifically uniquely the person who has to make this argument? Or can I go on sometimes the answer is yes. Yeah. Times the answer is yes. That which is what I was kind of like, well, yeah, I guess I do have to do it. I don't have to.
Tyler Tringas 54:12
Yeah, that's perfect. Exactly. I think I would sort of put a bow on that. That part as like, you know, if you zoom back out, man, I really feel for for founders right now. And I mean, I'm including myself in that moment as well. Because like, there's just one thing after another, and you know, whether it's you know, it's COVID and then it's interest rates, and then it's sVv explosions, and then it's crypto busts and then you know, it's just there's always some crazy thing going on that feels like it's throwing kind of radioactive waste in your in your path. And I think it's important to remember that like, this is kind of now part of the game, right of being an entrepreneur is like you can sort of, you know, like unless you're gonna step up and take action like you have Your options are sort of like wail about it and lose sleep or just like take action, right and building mental and business resiliency to these sorts of things. Now just feels like it's, that's necessary, that's a piece of it alongside you know, the risk of, you know, that you take as like just fundamentally being an entrepreneur, right, of not having a steady paycheck and not having a pension or 401k, like all of those risks that you already took on, you just this is another one, now that you have to build that toolkit for dealing with these sorts of things. And I think like, you really hit on the one that I've been preaching a lot, which is to really focus on what's in your control and what's not, right, and with a lot of these external things, actually, like the vast majority of it is out of your control, you know, at the end of the day, like it sucks, not trying to minimize how annoying it would be to have your business completely nuked by some random change in the tax code that would be devastating to people. But a huge percentage of whether or not that happens is out of your control. Right? You know, you you can do your thing, you know, you can you can sign a petition, you can call your representative, and then all you can really do is folk get back to focusing on your business, right? And so really just continuously reminding myself, like, focus on what piece of this is, in my control, which could be how can I, you know, create some Plan B's right, how can I line up financing? How can I maybe factor my invoices? How can I, you know, make a plan for if I have to lay off staff really fast? How can I? How can we pull forward revenue with switching people to annual plans, right, there's a long list of things that's in your control. And then there's a much, much, much bigger list of things that are completely out of your control. And so really just like zeroing in on, the difference between those two, I think, is one really important way to stay calm through this sort of thing.
Arvid Kahl 56:51
And one thing that really, really stands out to me here is that big old list you just rattled down, like with all the things you could do, like many of which any given founder probably only what think about 50% off, right? One thing that really stands out to me is what we're currently doing. It's like we're building community awareness around the topic and their own potential solutions to that topic. So if there's one thing that a founder could do, is go into their founder community into their entrepreneurial peer group and talk to people about this. It's not just on you to solve your own problem at this point, these things are so the potentially disastrous that you probably should talk to your peers and figure out what they are doing, like front loading revenue. That's something that I hadn't thought about, just until this point, like I could send out an email to my permanent line customers. If I had this problem, I don't really because war chest, right. But if I if I needed to, I could say well get the yearly plan, there is a little bookkeeping issue around, like for all SAS businesses, you can support this if you want, by getting I don't know, like, get it for 80% 75% of the price, whatever you do for your annual plans that would keep my business afloat until this is resolved. This is something you could do. But like you told me this 30 seconds ago, before that, I wouldn't have thought about this. And only because I'm in this kind of communicative communion with you do I know about so if you go to your community, listen to what other people, your peers, your other founders are doing and trying to figure out, that is something that you can do that is actually actionable for your own business. And I really liked that I'm in that's what our community is here for helping each other on this. And that also puts you back into the kind of into agency. Now you can do something that will give you more awareness and knowledge about, you know, the, the actions you can take. And that's that's kind of that gives, that's it's still urgent, but there's less self doubt, less anxiety, you know, like we, this is important at this point to separate the urgency from the anxiety and from the fear that we have of not making it and the potential fear of bankruptcy and all that, that is still possible. But it won't help you to be afraid of this, what helps you is to focus on the things that you can do. And if this is also a very calm approach, right to try to stay calm on an emotional level, but not complacent that these are two very distinct topics, very distinct things, you still need to take immediate action, but it shouldn't be focused on panic, it should be focused on being focused. So yeah, that's what I would suggest this like find your community, talk to people right now today about what they are doing, and then try to implement these things in your business as well.
Michele Hansen 59:32
And I mean to that, right, getting to that headspace where you are able to calmly look at all of your options to remember that you have options is so important, right? I mean, when when you get a surprisingly high bill from a tax authority, which I mean, you know, I was just telling an accountant a couple of weeks ago on a very different issue that that's a kind of emotional trauma I like to minimize in my life It's, it's natural right to feel panic about that right and, and I think it's okay to feel that. And then the the next thing that we have to do in order to move into that calmer headspace is to remember that, that our own bodies need to feel safe as well. And this is a really key thing for it that if you have a meditation practice, if you run if you do anything that physically makes you feel okay, in your own body, that is very, very powerful for finding a sense of calm during a time when you may not initially feel or remember that you that are there are things you have control over and that there are ways that you have options. And so prioritizing those things for you, whatever they are giving yourself that space to come down from the immediate cortisol overload of stress, and find a way to just sort of bring the temperature down just a little bit, right, I'm not going to tell you to breathe, because if you tell people who are panicking to breathe, they will panic even more. Yeah. But really calm down your body first. And then remember, you have options, you can outsource this problem, right to your community, to people you pay to solve this problem for you. You have options, you have gotten to this point, because you are a smart and capable person who is able to recognize that they have options and can solve problems. You have probably solved harder problems before in your life and in your business. And you will solve this one.
Tyler Tringas 1:01:50
Amen. I want to click that and just listen to it every morning.
Arvid Kahl 1:01:54
Yeah, that that was that would be a great
Michele Hansen 1:01:56
affirmation, just affirmations for entrepreneurs. Well, it is important, right? Hard Things.
Arvid Kahl 1:02:04
It's so central, central and important thing for our own mental health to stay aware of our capacity to find mindfulness. And like Tyler and I were trying to build the calm MBA, right? If you're trying to build something that teaches people the approach to building a calm business, and I have this feeling that we should put a mindfulness chapter somewhere into into the process, like not just meditation, but also just being aware that you are capable of solving problems and maybe doing affirmations. I mean, it may sound funny to talk to yourself in the mirror, but it has a psychological effect. And in a moment where everything around you is like on fire, maybe taking a minute to calm yourself down is actually a an executive business decision that you should be making. Right? It's not just not just a personal thing, it will impact your business. So I guess we are now at the point where we can talk a little bit about the calm MBA, which is the whole reason that we started this podcast to give people the opportunity to follow along as we built the thing that will teach them to stay calm, when things are exploding and to be calm in all other situations, which apparently are few and rare in nature. But we've been we've been recently discussing how we should structure this because we want to get this out as soon as possible. Obviously, the time is now. Right. It's like we need to give people the potential tools for building these businesses as soon as possible. So they don't run into these explosive situations. So Tyler, would you like to just discuss a little bit what we've come up with here. And I would like to hear Michelle's opinion on this to being a person who is very calm and building extremely calm business, you know, it's kind of nice to have somebody on that would be both a great person to help us with the project and just a voice and other opinion giver outside of it.
Tyler Tringas 1:04:02
For sure, yeah. So Michelle, just to briefly recap, in case you're not 100% up to speed on this, you know, we have this code name, comm MBA project we're working on, the basic premise is to get some of the principles of building a calm company and developing yourself as a calm founder to folks a little earlier on in the lifecycle of entrepreneurship, right. So at the time were they're being bombarded with, you know, all of the stories of how to build a rocket ship and go raise venture capital and go to the accelerator, there's actually something else that they can start to see as a real path that they can sort of follow. And I think we have a really good sense of the general principles and things that should go in there. The big question has been trying to figure out what, how to really put that into a package that makes sense and that isn't trying to completely boil the ocean, right? So the scope makes sense and the product makes sense that we can actually do it Um, we had originally kind of landed on the idea that the first product should be more of a self paced course covering a variety of topics targeting very early stage, folks. And actually, so we usually do shout outs at the end. But I will just shout out Kelly wild Miller, who is an entrepreneur who posted about doing instead of doing a multi week long course, breaking the topic up into a series of short workshops, like 235 day workshops, that would be intensive, and you could iterate on. So Arianna and I were talking about that this week about whether or not we should potentially do start there as a starting point, which would be, I guess, the idea would be a sort of, let's say, plus or minus three day workshop, you know, remote friendly, and really, I think I would think of it as like, folks at the starting line. Right. So real, like workshopping ideas, trying to think about what is a calm company and how that maps to their vision of, of building a company. initial reactions to what that would be as a product, especially, I want to also like, I want you to filter all of this stuff through the lens of the whole process, you just went through with deploy empathy, right, in terms of trying to get some really cool principles into the brains of a similar audience, you know, what is your gut reaction to, to starting there? Or just any reactions to that so far?
Michele Hansen 1:06:26
So my first reaction is that I love the idea of it. I, so three years into my business, I did not feel like I was competent enough to be running the business I already had. And I went out and got an MBA. Because that just felt like the only option to do right, and, and so I love that idea of making that more accessible. You know, I mean, I, like I went to a state school, so it wasn't expensive, but it was still like $35,000. And not everybody is in the position to pay that, especially when you are at the beginning of building a business, or has a university nearby that offers business courses. And, you know, I think for me, quite frankly, you know, I described myself as being in a hibernation period, before I took on all of this tax stuff. And I was just dealing with God do things and whatnot. And I felt like I was in this time where, you know, the kind of, sort of bootstrap education I had, I had sort of done everything that I had talked about, but then the NBA, like, a lot of it doesn't kick in until, you know, 1020 50 million in revenue, right. And so kind of in this weird in between state and thinking a lot about how we, as entrepreneurs can like keep learning. And as I started talking to people about this, one thing that that came back, and one thing that I loved in my MBA was learning from other people. And so I love that you're thinking about it as a workshop, because I think a lot of people, whether it was, you know, a prestige Ivy MBA, or, you know, sort of a more local one, like mine, right, like, or a calm MBA is that the people you meet are a huge part of the experience. And I think that that is learning, learning from other people and their experiences, or even just what they're thinking about, right? It's so important. And it's also so energizing, to be around people who are passionate about the things that you are passionate about. But they're passionate and like slightly different ways. I mean, this was my favorite part of college, right like was, you're just all of a sudden around all these people who are interested in something similar as you when in your daily life, you don't really have anyone who is right. And so that is just that is so motivating and inspiring and success creating on its own. And I think that that kind of cohorting people in this and having it be workshops is I think that's totally the way the right way to go about it. I think with people I think I think there's kind of a challenge in serving people who don't already have a business because they maybe don't have the money to go somewhere to do it. Right. And then it's like, well, you could do it remote. And then how do you make sure that they're still getting those connections in that environment? And I mean, we've just kind of had three years where basically everything was remote. So I haven't figured it out. But I'm sure like a lot of people have spent a lot of time trying this and testing it and figuring it out. And like there's people you could talk to who could tell you how to do this right. I think a one day Saturday workshop, though, is what I would do because if you're thinking that people are working full time, it's true and less like it I'm sure it's unlikely that they would be able to do it. And there's a lot of Executive MBA programs that are meant for people who are working full time. And usually those are like half day, Friday, all day, Saturday, once a month, or every, like two weeks kind of a program, but oftentimes once a month, and I think it's worth looking at how they structured, they usually structured as being in person, well, I guess before COVID I'm talking about. But I would encourage you to go that direction of like, one Saturday, a month, here's like, and we're gonna do these, like two modules. And like, you know, this is like, this is what we're doing. And you're expected to be active on Slack, you know, during the week, and during other times and like, you know, what not like, you know, I don't know, there's tons of things you can do, right, you're expect to have a random Coffee Chat with at least one person once a week for an hour. Right. And like, you don't have any talked about, here's your topic, or something. But I think I think baking community into it from the very beginning. And learning from other people is, is a huge part of the value of any education program.
Arvid Kahl 1:11:06
Wow, that is extremely helpful. Thank you so much for that, I had considered that we were likely going to be serving people who already have a job. And we would have to do this, like in the evening or something, but pushing them onto the Saturdays and then giving people time during the week to fit whatever they need to do in there. That is a very good idea. Thank you so much, Michelle, you're awesome. Did you know that was extremely helpful, because we want we want this to be something actionable, right? We want to get people to actually do something and get over whatever finish line there might be, right depends on how much we can offer. And that's kind of where this this whole question comes from. It's a question of scope. Like, who are we talking to? And how far do we take them with this? Because it could be the whole journey, we could like, do the whole thing where it's like an accelerator, plus some kind of alumni network or whatever. But we're trying to be as impactful as possible without being over boarding. Right, Tyler? Is that right?
Tyler Tringas 1:12:06
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. I like that a lot. Man, this is just, there's so many ways you can go with it. What is Michelle, what is your gut instinct on, like, a pricing structure for something like this, that included virtual community, it was remote, and it was, you know, either one day or you know, pick whatever kind of feels right? Right? Obviously, if it's one day, a month for a year, that's a different price than one day, a month once. But like, pick a number out of a hat, like what what is your like, first reaction to how how this should be priced?
Michele Hansen 1:12:42
My My gut reaction is that look at the competition and how they price it. And generally, that's at least a semester commitment at a time. I might encourage you to however long the program is whether that's six months or a year, right? I would encourage an upfront commitment from the very beginning. And so whether that's $2,000 $5,000. Like, this is an upfront commitment that people are making. Now, of course, they'll need an ability to try it or some point. I mean, you know that, you know, pricing plans and all that kind of stuff. Right? But like, I don't think it should be something that you can kind of turn on and off from a given month, right, it should be expected that like you're joining this, you know, for example, you're joining this cohort, this is your group, like, all of these people have committed to being here for the next six months. You're committing to being here for the next six months. And, you know, having to make a financial commitment is, I think, part of how people incentivize themselves to keep showing up. I mean, with everything, right, like, this is your business, you know more about it than I do. You're gonna learn more about it than I do. And so like, you know, take that with a grain of salt, right? Like, like, I'm not an expert in building education businesses. So,
Tyler Tringas 1:14:11
ya know, we're just like, it's, like, sort of calibrating it's kind of like the it's a very The reason we started this is it's a very, very tricky, interesting product as ation problem, like the actual content is not actually the problem. You know, we've both written about it enough that like, we know what we want to get into people's brains. It's just, it is kind of tricky to figure out how to go about that. So that's what we were. We're sort of continuously playing with that in public. So this is great. Love it.
Arvid Kahl 1:14:41
Thanks so much for being part of this, this discussion and our exploration of the topic and public as well, that that is really, really helpful.
Tyler Tringas 1:14:51
What do you think, should we should we wrap it up here? We've gone over it's
Arvid Kahl 1:14:55
time to get back to entrepreneurial activism, and get people excited. To sign things and talk to people about it, right? I think like you already had your shout out, Tyler. Michelle, do you want to shout out anybody who's been helpful supportive with your whole section 174 situation or anybody else? Would you like to shout out? Anybody else? That's up to you as well.
Michele Hansen 1:15:18
There have been so many founders who have jumped on board and been so open with their their time and the struggle that they're going through about section 174. I mean, if I started to list them, I would forget someone. So I am not going to do that. I will say on the point of finding a sense of calm to the point where you can start to make decisions from a physical sense. Angela Parker, you probably remember her from from Mexico City. Angela is a fantastic person, she's a coach, and you guys should have her on. But if people are really finding themselves struggling with that she really understands the somatic and physical side of finding calmness, and is totally someone you should talk to.
Tyler Tringas 1:16:13
On Twitter, she's Angela Parker. Fit. That's how I spell. Yeah, awesome. Yeah.
Michele Hansen 1:16:21
I think so. Yeah,
Tyler Tringas 1:16:22
I think so. Yeah. Yeah. And, yeah, and shout out SSB Alliance. dot.org.com, which one.org
Michele Hansen 1:16:31
SSP. alliance.org. Small software business alliance. It's not actually like an organization. I just needed a domain name. And that sounded great. It's me. And I'm liaising with DC to hopefully get this fixed. And so ssballiance.org, if you're a US founder with a US company, signed the letter. It is it is going to go directly to Congress. And it is the most impactful thing you can do. Even if you're only at the point right now, where you're you're feeling unsure about what the impacts of 174 will be. That is helpful because it's causing uncertainty in your business. So go there and sign it. And thank you. Yes.
Arvid Kahl 1:17:25
And even if you're not affected, talk to people encourage them to do something about it. This is a this is a community effort to protect our founder community from bankruptcy and upheaval of lives like this is the least you can do is to share this so that others who are maybe not aware of it, become aware of it and can do something about it. So thank you so much, Michele, for being on that was extremely nice as it is usually to talk to you. But it's also very urgent and timely. And I'm glad that we had the opportunity to hear you explain this and share your incredibly important and most welcome activism on this subject. So thanks so much for being on. That was really nice.
Michele Hansen 1:18:09
Thank you so much for having me. And I really appreciate you spreading awareness of this it this is it just feels like an existential threat to our way of business life, and I really appreciate it.
Arvid Kahl 1:18:22
Alright, well, let's let's do something about it and then catch up again next week. Thanks so much for listening, everybody. And yeah, see you next week.
Michele Hansen 1:18:35
All right. Bye for now.