Join me as I interview Kenneth Ellington, a Senior Consultant and now a Cybersecurity Coach. We talk about Kenneth’s journey from working in a deli to running a successful online business today. We deep dive into the world of Cybersecurity and have a very informative and meaningful conversation about Cyber Safety, password protection, and management, coaching, and mentorship, precautions one should be taking as a content creator, and much more!
“Personal security is paramount in the digital age and being self-aware about your security practices is essential.”
Highlights from this episode:
13:50 How to be more cyber safe
18:20 Using your very own algorithm for passwords
25:15 Cybersecurity measures as a content creator
28:00 LinkedIn as a platform for creators
28:50 Strategizing content
41:55 Finding the right coach for Yourself
47:50 Investing in yourself
Connect with Kenneth:
A little bit about Kenneth:
Kenneth is a rising cybersecurity professional working for a big four firm and Senior Consultant. They also are running a successful online business – ‘ Ellington Cyber Academy’, where they help others become better cybersecurity professionals and have more than 5000 followers all over their social media platforms.
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Other relevant episodes:
Bringing Joy to Content Creation: Tips and Insights from a Mastermind
The Solopreneur’s Guide To Writing Your First Book: From Full-Time Job To Authorship
The Realities of Being a Creator: Debunking Myths with Michael Barris
Inside the Mind of a Best-Selling Author: The Highs and Lows of Writing a Book with Erin Baker
Why Every Solopreneur Needs a Podcast Today
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Kenneth Ellington 0:00
I made a promise towards myself that nothing and nobody wasn’t getting my way or getting the goals I knew that I earned and deserved. So I purposely set time every week and every day to reach my cybersecurity goals, right? To study to network to meet with people.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 0:16
Welcome to the Spicy Chai podcast, I’m Marukh Imtiaz, I host this podcast and still work a successful and fulfilling nine to five. My guests are content creators just a bit ahead of you, you will hear about their struggles and with learn from their mistakes so that you can avoid making them. So, grab a cup of Spicy Chai. And let’s get started.
Hello, beautiful! So in today’s episode, we had a bit of a tangent, we talked about basketball a little bit very randomly and LeBron James and how he can be a bit of a drama queen. I’m sorry if you don’t agree with all of that. But it’s kind of true. It’s like you know, when you watch soccer players play and you know, they haven’t been pushed really hard, but then they fall on the ground and out of nowhere. They’re just complaining and making it seem like they got hurt really badly when they really didn’t. And then two minutes later, they’re just playing the game like nothing happened to them. Yeah, that but then now you’re probably wondering, why am I talking about this? It’s very random, but it was on my mind. So I want to mention it Anywho.
So talking about today’s episode, we talk to a cyber security professional. So not only do we go into what creators can do, to make sure that they feel safe, but towards the end of the episode, I actually ask our guests how they manage a nine to five, a very, very extensive nine to five and a very gruesome nine to five, with an online business while creating content on LinkedIn. So we go into their journey, we also ask how do they do that, we go into some tips on when people do want to start their nine to five, how they can go about that journey. So it’s just packed with a lot of nuggets. So he would say without further ado, let’s get into the episode.
Today’s guest is a rising cybersecurity professional. But that’s not the coolest thing about them. They actually started in a deli, and then they moved their way up through a lot of hard work, a lot of hustle as we call it, and now are working for a big four firm and Senior Consultant. But that’s not really it. Because that wasn’t the end of their story. They also are running a successful online business where they help others become better cybersecurity professionals and have have more than 5000 followers all over their social media platforms. Welcome to the show Kenneth. So excited to have you here.
Kenneth Ellington 2:36
Thank you for having me on today.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 2:38
Awesome. All right. So where I usually start is tell us a bit more about your story. How did you get into like, you know, realizing that you want to start your side hustle and you know, potentially an online business? How did that all start?
Kenneth Ellington 2:54
So I guess it’s all started kind of during COVID. I graduated During college I graduated during the 2020 spring semester.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 3:02
Oh, what a perfect time to graduate.
Kenneth Ellington 3:04
Yeah, everything got shut down. I said goodbye to my teachers I want one day because I hadn’t also online classes. I told him I’ll be back next week. I didn’t see them for a year and a half. Which really sucked. Everything got shut down on my graduation party got shut down. It was very unfortunate. So yeah, so during that time, I’m like sit I’m just sitting waiting for me to start my actual career because I signed an offer letter, but I wasn’t gonna start until like July for my first show. So I’m like sitting in my parents house because I can’t go on your right and like Why you so my CEO of a time for blacks and cybersecurity. That’s a nonprofit that I work for that helps minorities in cybersecurity get hired. My CEO of atomic Kayla asked me she’s like, Hey, can I do you want to do you want to like do some Splunk training? I’m like, sure. I’m like, I’m posing with the class. She’s like you are I’m like, Okay, I’m like, I can do that. So I designed the curriculum for that. I taught the classes designed the quizzes, does that the modules are all of it. I taught a bunch of people on how to use Splunk for the environment. That’s kind of how I got inside of professional training. And I kept doing that, like every four months, like over and over again. People really liked it. It’s in the back of my mind. I’m like, Oh, I can maybe this is one day, then I’m like, God, no, I know, I can’t do that. And then fast forward last year, someone told me if I charge money for this, I’d actually buy it from me. I’m like, really? Like, okay, so I did like a small little test. So I charge like $85 for one of the classes like I tell people to sign up for that everybody loved it. So that’s why I’m excited to make the jump to see if I can build an international business.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 4:45
I love that. And that’s like, there’s so much happening there. And then you said you were volunteering for what was the organization’s name again,
Kenneth Ellington 4:52
um, it’s called Bic for short but it stands for blacks and cybersecurity,
Mahrukh Imtiaz 4:56
blacks and cybersecurity. So you were volunteering there and you kind of If we’re putting yourself out there, and that’s where the opportunity came to you or the CEO, or did you set like about the with the organization came to you and said, Hey, can you do small trainings? And you just took the opportunity? And you said, Yes, we’re these virtual things. We’re still during the COVID. Time. Yeah. Oh, virtual. Oh, gotcha. And so you were doing these small trainings, what were these trainings about? And how were you like actually using either your education or your background to conduct these trainings.
Kenneth Ellington 5:26
So I specialized in the cyber sphere technology stack called sem technologies, which sem stands for security, information about mooring system, think of it as like a central platform that collects all the logs from different devices on your network, to be able to monitor to tech build rules for it and makes your environment secure. So I specialize in building solutions for that platform. And that’s what I taught the students on. So all the classes were all virtual, because during COVID, right, we still couldn’t meet up in person. So everything that involves around that, and the front end is perspective of being an analyst towards the back end perspective of being an engineer. I taught classes on that, and how they can use and learn that from a basic concept to more advanced concepts. And we had the classes were normally like three hours on like a Saturday or Friday.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 6:13
Oh, love that. And were you working like a nine to five at that time? Or was it more so this was COVID going on, and you kind of were just trying to figure out what to do with your life at this point.
Kenneth Ellington 6:22
So I’ll say the first class that was when I felt that I needed to like two weeks before I started my new job. So I had a lot of free time. I just graduated college shelf basically done right. So yeah, only work by 20 hours a week. At that point. Um, fast forward Later, it became after my after my nine to five job. And then as a pandemic started to lessen wherever gonna meet more people is able to start to meet work different contexts HR improvement material.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 6:54
Oh, gotcha, gotcha. So, and then you started a guest then working at one of the like, big corporations. So you were consulting for them, and you are continuing on your side hustle. Now, let’s slow this down and talk about that a little bit. A lot of people when they’re working for these big corporations, their biggest fear is I can’t do my own online business, because my work will think I’m not as dedicated to my work. So how did you deal with that? And how did you go about dealing with that fear?
Kenneth Ellington 7:25
Um, for me, the biggest thing for me was just getting approved by my management team. Um, once they told me that I was okay, I just want to head over, there wasn’t any really pushback from out? Honestly, I don’t really care, honestly. Yeah, as long as long as the clients happy, I get my job done, I can kind of do what I want to outside that personal life, right. As long as I get my work done, they’re perfectly happy with me doing my own thing.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 7:49
I love that too. Like your work was very supportive of what you were doing. And you talk to your management, they were completely okay with what you were doing, even though your online business deals a lot with what you’re doing at work.
Kenneth Ellington 8:02
Yeah, for them, I guess their follow suit, you will work for the same company, like as long as taking their clients, right? But our contract the biggest firms in the world, right? So Google, and Apple wants to work with me, I’m just gonna leave my company, right? Because I’ll be rich at that point, obviously, yeah, as long
Mahrukh Imtiaz 8:17
as there’s no conflict of interest, like, I think what I’m trying to get here is it’s so important to be working. Even if you are working a nine to five, and you have this expression inside of you, where you want to do something more and you know, you want to do something more than your nine to five. And we both know when I when I say 95, it’s never really nine to five, you work a lot more hours than that. But just for simplicity sakes, let me say 95, it’s so important to choose a place that actually supports your goals and supports your passions and supports your expressions of them. Because then actually, you can do your nine to five and build that online business on the side, because it actually benefits the company as well, because you bring in so many insights that you’re learning by yourself into the role. Do you agree?
Kenneth Ellington 9:04
I completely agree. There’s a lot of cool things I’ve been able to bring back towards my job and vice versa, from my company, from some of the aspects I’ve been learning from different people. So it’s been super beneficial for both parties, I would say.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 9:16
Absolutely. And what would you say to people who, again, are working for companies where their companies are not very supportive of their online business?
Kenneth Ellington 9:23
I want to tell people, you only work for yourself, right? I mean, if you employed by somebody else, so I always have your best interests at heart graph. At the end of the day, a lot of times for most of these companies, you’re just like a number on a spreadsheet, and then minute times get tough, or something happens as we’ve seen over the past, I’ll say 12 months, companies will cut you off, right? Yes, it’s not these. You’re a publicly traded company, right? You weren’t interested shareholders, right? So that stock price is super important. So the shareholders aren’t happy, and you’re gonna be in trouble right. So the company will do what is in their best interest, which I understand right? So you need to do the same thing for yourself.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 9:59
absolutely always be working in your best best self interest. And to be very honest, like, like I said, the amount of skills that you learn just by running a business, it benefits the company because you’re taking your upskilling to another level and applying that to your job. So, you know, I’m in a similar position, we work for the same organization, that’s kind of, you know, how we kind of connected and it makes complete sense. So I’d love to take a tangent right now I know you’re in the cybersecurity space. And a lot of creators, you know, one of their fears is starting, when they’re starting is, you know, I’m worried that I’ll get hacked, or I’m putting my life out there. How safe is that? Or if I put something out there, I can’t really delete it after. So could you talk a little bit about how creators, especially beginner creators, when they’re starting off? How could? Could they be safe from all these hackers and attackers and small things they can do?
Kenneth Ellington 10:55
Yeah. So aren’t we talking about this tomorrow for one of our events? It’s awesome. Yeah. Five, personal security, I think it’s super important for everybody, to small businesses and personal people, there’s like a couple of quick steps you can do to try to protect yourself. Like a larger perspective, I would say probably the easiest and cheapest thing you can do see, like a password manager. And what that is basically, a password manager is just like a central platform that centralizes all your passwords. So all you do, remember, is to remember, like one master password, make that super strong. And you have access to all your other encrypted passwords for sites that if you try to memorize 100, from passwords, which people don’t, right, they won’t, they won’t do that they’ll make the same password for all their other accounts. Right? So one account gets compromised, and you’re kind of screwed for the rest of yourself, right. But if you have a password manager, just make one super strong like password lady that would actually remember eyes, right? You have access towards everything else. The one I personally use dash line, right, that’s one of the few ones that haven’t hasn’t been compromised yet. I love this service, other than the offer on the actual UI, and UX is very, very easy to use. And that’s very important. Because if you have a crappy interface, no one’s gonna use it right? Even though the best software in the world best product, but nobody wants to use it because it doesn’t function properly. From manual perspective, it doesn’t matter how good no one use it, you’ll be wasting your money, especially if your company right. Another cool thing about it, which I think is very important, is that it can auto generate autofill passwords. So how does that work? Let’s say you shop at Walmart, right? You Don’t you get tired of trying to copy and paste your passwords over right? Because it takes all the time for everyone. Here’s everybody’s lazy, right? I am at least. So let’s say you want to put in your username and password which Dashlane it’ll automatically autofill. So save it in the backend under site, when you click on walmart.com. It will automatically autofill your username and password. So you’re logged in automatically. That’s a really cool feature that it has as well. So like small things like that will really help you out. Because password, password and compromise is one of the biggest ways attackers will get you. Because it’s pretty easy to do. Right? You clip in efficiently, they get your credentials. If use credentials throughout all of your different accounts, then they got you right. Now the third thing is to be super careful about what you actually post online, right? Like I tell people, my parents, everyone’s always watching. If someone was watching, see what you do see what you posts. So I thought for me, it’s always been word, I still see people, though, like post himself on on vacation in real time. And if you’re decently famous, and someone knows where you live, right, then they can break inside your house until yourself, right. So always be careful about what you’re posting. What information is on your posts, who you’re talking to just things of that nature. Because if people will watch it, and they’ll scan your data to see if you posted your dog’s name, is that part of your password, right? So they’ll do things like that as well. Because like people I list like their favorite High School, their favorite car, where they’re born on our Facebook page, and those are the those are the most popular passwords if you forget your password on that site. Right? Right. So like autofill information, so they can just do that, get your email address, and then pretend Oh, I forgot my password, right? And then as login with the information, could you post it along for free? So just be careful about things like that, I would say.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 14:14
Right. And then so I liked how you mentioned the first thing, the password manager. And which one was that again, I want to make sure I have it in the link in the show notes. So you said
Kenneth Ellington 14:24
Dasher Dashlane Dashlane dash
Mahrukh Imtiaz 14:28
link. Okay, awesome. So that’s the first thing you mentioned. I liked the idea a lot. It’s just you’re right have that one really stupid, like not stupid, but like very strong, crazily stupidly strong. That’s how I say it, you know, where you have so many like slashes and everything for that strong password. And then that password manager manages all your other passwords. So you make sure you don’t have the same password for all your social media accounts throughout. That’s very key because I know I mean, I’ve been guilty in the past of having to say same passwords, obviously, I’ve changed things around, I’ve learned my lessons. So you know, the hard way, unfortunately, but definitely change things around, make sure that’s not the same and rip password managers, I really liked that. And the other thing is something I learned actually recently from an Apple employee, you know that those geniuses and one of the employees, she told me, it’s, you can also use an algorithm for your password. So you can have like an algorithm. So technically only, you know, the algorithm. So it will be different passwords for every account, but it has the same algorithm. So it’s just someone who’s not very secure feeling, feeling really secure about the password manager, they could use that algorithm. What I mean by that is, she gave me this example, which is super cool. She’s like, you can say something along the lines of favorite, like, not favorite color, like a certain color. And then the thing that you’re putting the password for four letters of that in caps left next four letters of that in less caps, and then underscore, and then you know, the similar thing and then underscore, and then similar things, again, it’s just different thing for it’s a different thing password for each count, but it’s the same algorithm. I don’t know if I explained that well. And if you didn’t understand that, that’s totally okay. condemn me when happy to explain that. And I do want to go into the second thing you said, you said, you know, be careful posting out there, because people will be looking at like, your dog’s name. And that might be your password? Answer. So how do you balance being careful versus completely expressing your creativity and putting yourself out there? What would be your advice there?
Kenneth Ellington 16:34
So that’s why I put us like, you don’t have to be paranoid about it. I kind of am because it’s part of my job, or I’m always like, very vigilant about what things that I do. Um, but just have like how, like a certain level you want to protect yourself with, like, the bigger the bigger you get, and like your creative career or business, right? More protection, you add on towards yourself, right. So there’s other things you can do, right, like have multi factor authentication. So if you have like the Google Google authentication app, or a Microsoft one, it basically means there’s like a second step, that you have to get on to actually log into one of your accounts. So you’ll have that app, you’ll say you log in using the password, oh, then send out a call towards the app. So you had to fill back in, right? So things like that, that you need to protect yourself. But just having like a base level understanding of your own personal security, and on personal protection, I think will go a long way. And then again, like as you get bigger in your career, right, you can add more and more layers towards your security.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 17:36
What do you mean by have a baseline understanding of your own personal security?
Kenneth Ellington 17:40
So So what So what I mean by that is, like, understand the type of risky activities that you may tend to do, right? So that goes back to being like very honest with yourself. If you’re not honest with details, you’re gonna have a very hard time with this. So if you go and rescue sites, and and if you use the same password over and over again, for all of your things, be honest about that. So you’re able to try to fix that, right? If you’re not self aware about your issues, and you can’t fix it. So things of that nature, I would probably say,
Mahrukh Imtiaz 18:12
Absolutely, like just having that self awareness that maybe I do have the same password for everything. And maybe that this point, it helps me but being aware of that, and knowing that that’s not the best strategy and looking into password managers to fix it, or knowing that you’re someone who likes to go to some risky websites, and you know, you’re just adventurous like that. Just be aware that you might be putting yourself in danger to doing that, and maybe having an action plan. So what would be that action plan? Let’s say someone does, you know, click on a lot of risky links, a lot of those found with sponsored ads and all of that, what can they do to protect themselves from that?
Kenneth Ellington 18:48
First thing, let’s say to stop doing that. Second thing that was important that I would say get since I’ve antivirus tool, I’m like McAfee or Symantec, right, or Microsoft defender, or if you’re an enterprise, something like CrowdStrike, right, because oh, actually scan those attachments automatically at the most, and then they may block them for you automatically. If you’re still having issues with that, then you may want to hire somebody like me if you have extra money, right to try to console and talk with you to make you understand where your issues and vulnerabilities aren’t. So you’re able to actually fix those. And it’s like other things as well like on personal security. So like if you travel on our house, you just never use in the actual plugins at the airports. A lot of times it’s hackers will put stuff in it and they’ll scan your data and when you plug in your USB, like don’t leave your laptop or plug your laptop into any public ports at all. They’ll use public Wi Fi, use a VPN things of that nature. Gotcha. Like, I sound paranoid but
Mahrukh Imtiaz 19:48
yeah, I was gonna say like don’t use public Wi Fi. I am definitely guilty of using the public Wi Fi especially at airports super super guilty of it. But I never thought of it. I know they always say this is a weak internet connection or like a weak, it’s not less secure and all of that. I never thought of that it can be an area. I mean, I kind of knew it. But I think part of me just for the convenience of it likes it also, because so many times flights are delayed and you know, solopreneur ship journey where you’re like, Alright, let me get some work done. You know, while I’m waiting for my flight. So I know you said don’t put any USB, I don’t think I’m guilty of that. I don’t think I put any USBs in but I definitely have found myself going to the airport or a coffee shop and using their Wi Fi. So would you just say like, how do you go get around that as an individual.
Kenneth Ellington 20:38
So you can get like a VPN from like, that I think definitely has some I know Nord has one right? Um, you can use a VPN. And that basically protects your internet connection when you’re tunneling through it. And I think it’s like I say, maybe four or $5 a month for that. So it’s not really too expensive, right?
Mahrukh Imtiaz 20:57
I think I use the proton VPN right now. So
Kenneth Ellington 21:00
yeah, yeah, I would use that. Um, there’s other things to look out for. Because attackers, a lot of times, they’ll create like a separate Wi Fi connection. Right? Great for super big. I don’t want people but if, for example, you fly a fly out, like lax, or like Hartsfield in Atlanta, right now, most people that come in daily, they’ll create like a fake on Wi Fi name, right. And it might have like, one character off, but someone super busy. They have a bunch of kids, they’re busy trying to get towards a five dental care, right click on it. Now with a fake Wi Fi connection, though be listen in on all your oil activity while you’re on that session. That’s why I say just be super careful about it.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 21:41
That’s fair, that’s fair. Yeah, no, and you’re absolutely right, they just gonna change one word. And you said something along the lines of like, the bigger you get, the more likely this is to happen. But to be very honest, like I have seen getting Instagram requests from people who are impersonating friends, who only have 1000 followers, right? And I don’t say only like only like, you know, like, it’s still a lot, but not like 50,000 or 70,000 followers or a million, right? So I think at this point, like hackers are also just going after anyone and you’re right, they all they do is change, like one letter, in the name, name, lot like the Instagram name. And you have to pay a lot of attention. And all it’s not the same person. This is not it. So and they they kind of literally copy and paste this profile, like I think they have like fake followers and same content. So it’s kind of scary, but at the same time, anything you do you doing anything is scary, going outside for a walk can be scary if you think about it. So it’s just like going about the world and doing the things you want to do anyway. But just making sure you taking all the precautions as as you can, like, I liked the VPN idea, I didn’t think about that I do have proton VPN and ever turned it on. But I can do that when I’m on public Wi Fi, or you know, have the password manager or like just be more careful when posting things or not have password answers. And I could potentially post about like, dog’s name, you know, so, absolutely. This is this has been super helpful. So tell me like, is there anything that you think creators should know about security that I haven’t asked you today?
Kenneth Ellington 23:19
We’ve touched on it, but they go a little bit deeper, I would say the overall concept that we’ve been talking about for the past, like 20 minutes is called Risk Management. Right? Yes. So Andre, yeah. So understand, like what your risk tolerance tolerance is for yourself personally. And then that will help you realize your own personal plan for it. Right? Some people may say, I don’t care, don’t get I don’t get, I don’t care. Don’t care at all about this, right? I don’t care about any cybersecurity stuff. I get attacked, I get attacked, right? I’m a liberal left away, and you have a very high risk tolerance with tomention. Right? I personally don’t, right. Because as I make more money, I don’t want to lose that money. And I don’t wanna get compromised, right? So my risk tolerance is a lot lower. Because I probably work in this field. So I do understand what can happen if I do get compromised, or someone’s taking information, right? How that can affect me personally, and my job. So just understand where you fall, and that scope, and you’ll be on your on your way.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 24:18
I liked that. I liked that. And I just want to take another tangent right now I know earlier, we mentioned that you are someone who’s working a nine to five for a big corporation, and you’re running this online business. So let’s talk a little bit about that piece a little bit. So first of all, which platform did is your choice in terms of where are you creating content to attract people for your online business?
Kenneth Ellington 24:42
LinkedIn, definitely LinkedIn. Yeah,
Mahrukh Imtiaz 24:45
I get to choose that and why did you choose LinkedIn?
Kenneth Ellington 24:48
I can’t do it can’t do face so that’s successful on Twitter. So fearful, angry and I don’t understand why. Tik Tok I’m too old for that not honored Soundsport on that platform. So that’s why I chose was on LinkedIn, because people seem to be the most normal on it.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 25:04
I love that I don’t think I’ve ever heard that about any platform that people seem to be most normal on it. I think everyone has their crazy. But ya know. So let’s talk a bit more about LinkedIn, when you’re creating content on it. Tell us more about that. How does that feel like? How do you what is your customer acquisition strategy for your online business while you work your nine to five?
Kenneth Ellington 25:27
So I actually have a business coach, she’s helped me fix my LinkedIn content strategy a lot. So at the start, it was very hard. I didn’t know I didn’t know what the posts were, I didn’t know how to create posts, blog posts will be very sporadically be kind of random. So be hard to get people to actually directly DM me to learn more information about me, but with her help, it’s been pretty quick, I would say. So we specifically were to save, we’ll keep working on my client acquisition strategy and getting more clients. And we’ve worked on LinkedIn strategy for the past like three weeks. And it really does work. It’s like, pretty insane. Like I’ve had from my just to direct posts like my call to action, right, which I call it when a dark side, because I’m cybersecurity. I’m very nerdy like that. I think we just did two testimonial posts from two of my clients and students. And I’ve gotten like 12 calls out of that, which is like she said, a very, very good for how quickly that happened. Yeah, all people did actually join the call was sort of a different day. But it’s part of it, right? Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Part of it. It drives me mentally insane. But support. So yeah, I would say like, we have a we have like our structure. So like mine. So I post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have a newsletter on Saturday. So at the Monday through Friday posts with one might be a testimonial, or promotional Alright, Wednesday might be educational or reform, somebody asked about different topics and topics like this. And then Friday may either be from our LinkedIn event, or we tease about our newsletter. And we just cycled through that every week.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 27:09
I love that. And how do you balance that with everything going on your life? You volunteer, you work a nine to five as a consultant, you know, how do you do it all?
Kenneth Ellington 27:21
myself the same question all the time. I would say time management is super important. Um, so normally, I set days, not hours. We’re all Archie’s work on our business. So normally, like on Saturday morning, before I go to go to a boxing kickboxing train. I’ll write my LinkedIn posts, they’ll take me like an hour, an hour and a half, I reckon, for the week, I then have lunch with my business coach will help me edit that once he gets free time back on Monday. So that’s normally what to do for that. And then normally, I set the time to take my modules. Shimon was done with any venture tonight. But I normally take those throughout the week, like one per day. So I’m able to finish everything on time. And then I think come up, right, I’ll take care of them. So clients reach out towards me, or follow us on LinkedIn when I’m done with my work, or I’ll take calls as needed.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 28:12
Gotcha. Okay. So it’s like a lot of planning from what I’m understanding, a lot of planning ahead of time. That makes sense. And then in terms of like, you said, it all comes down to time management. How do you think like that happened for you? How did you become good at time management? It wasn’t just something that you just kept adding to your list. It just got better and better as practice or like, mean, what advice would you give to people who are doing their nine to five right now and are looking into diving into the side hustle world through some type of online business or content creation? Like how should they start? Make sure that they manage their time?
Kenneth Ellington 28:48
So the question I would probably say, We’re gonna learn more time management skills are pharmacy and college is where I learned to. So a lot of times are college I worked two jobs I work or two jobs went to school full time. Yeah, so knowing how to balance all that was very hard at first. But it got to the point that um, for me, personally, I every day 1000s at the deli, for y’all and me work a $7 sandwich over me about a frosted bite or a box of fried chicken. Like every day I was doing that I wasn’t living the life that I want to live. I’m pissed me off and discuss it the very fiber about who I am. So I made a promise towards myself that nothing and nobody wasn’t getting my way or getting the goals I knew that I earned and deserved. So I purposely set time every week and every day to reach my cybersecurity goals right to study to network to meet with people. Now everyone understood it right because I was I should put it I was on shortchanging a lot of money in the beginning, not by not working as much to cut my hours back. But um, I was shortchanging making $10 an hour, when in two years, I can make $100 An hour right? To my mind every day, I’m excited daily, I’m actually losing money in the long run. So that forced me to, like, take over a hard look at myself and see like, what activities are actually helping me reach my goals. If people that aren’t with that, or things aren’t doing that, for me will get cut out my life period.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 30:25
I love it. That is so powerful. That is very powerful. Where do you think that mindset came from? How did you develop it?
Kenneth Ellington 30:31
Um, probably my parents, my father’s my father and grandmother, our immigration, Jamaica. And they came here in the 70s. Nobody, a lot of people didn’t want them there because they were black, right? They don’t want to race and racism, hatred, and they worked their asses off to get to get to where they are right now. And so they sacrificed everything to come to this country. So for me, it’s like, I don’t really have a choice. Like this is the bare minimum that I can do. I haven’t easy compared to how they had it, right. So for me, it’s just trying to make them proud of trying to live up towards their namesakes, which are trying to be the best person that I can.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 31:06
I love that. I love that it’s so so clear. With everything you’re saying how committed and motivated you are. I know that even when we spoke, I think that’s why we kind of connected because we kind of were like, Yeah, I love doing this, I love being able to do these multiple things. And I think you have an if anyone would agree, it’s very stressful. It’s not easy. And there are days when you just want to give up. So I do want to make sure I paint this authentic picture to people who are listening to us and thinking okay, yeah, well, this person they do, they’re not a five at a big corporation. And they also are running this online business. They you know, they create content, I create content on LinkedIn, or you do to do as well. It definitely super, super worth it. But it’s not easy. And you know, I certainly have days where I’m like, Oh, my God, this is a lot, and especially when you’re a solopreneur, wearing all the hats, taking care of everything. And I’m sure you can agree. Like there’s things that come up that you haven’t even thought of that are so small, it takes so much of your time. So when you are going through those days, where it’s like, oh, man, this is so much this is overwhelming, how do you kind of get over that hump.
Kenneth Ellington 32:13
So the biggest thing I tell all my students, all my clients is, if you want to get to that next level, you have to surround yourself with people that have your best interests at heart. And like the heart about the topic, well, the more famous you get more money, you get more, once you get right people will want to use and pull you down. I learned that the hard way. Not everyone, not everyone’s really there for you. Most people are there, because it’s just convenient for them. Like the quicker you realize that the quicker you’re able to actually identify people that really care about you, and people that will be there for you, even when you have nothing to really offer, you’ll be a lot better for. So I made a lot of strides and efforts to surround myself with people like that. So I have a very good team around me, which helps to insulate me some nonsense that may go around, or some of the some of the own insecurities that I may have about myself up right there to remind me that I didn’t know what I’m doing, I’m doing a great job, I am really changing the hell from people, because it can be kind of a hard drive stuck in the mud and try and crawl through it to like see, like outside of that scope. So it’s always nice to have somebody that can have like a bird’s eye view and tell you no kangaroo actually kicking ass like you’re actually doing a good job. So keep up the good work. Because I was because I feel like this last week, right? Because we’re so we’ve. So we like we’ve tripled our prices over the past couple months. Because we were under solid isolation.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 33:38
That’s a big step.
Kenneth Ellington 33:39
Yeah. Yeah. So we’ve been like, under so a lot of our products. So we’ve increased it by quite a bit. Because the amount of effort I have to play on to get my client results, right. And my clients will get anywhere between 40 to $60,000 in salary increase with more when working with us, right, love, so I need to charge a quarterly for that, right? So I can give them better results. Right? So we’ve increased their prices, and we change things about it. So it’s been it’s been a struggle to try to get people to sign up for the new offer, right? Who like, hey, this was only $1,000 A month ago, why is it a tensor price? Now, I can tell them, because we’re getting better results. And for me to get get your desired result, I have to get paid accordingly. So I can have all the support, right? All the hiring managers and recruiters, the LinkedIn resident workshop that’s not free, right? Yeah. So it’s like trying to explain to trying to explain that for people to try and get people to sign up has been a struggle with the new price, right? So I’m like, What am I doing wrong? Why don’t why don’t we started in the first place, right? I have all this self doubt. And I gotta I gotta take a step back and realize, like, I’ve gotten like seven people hired over the past eight months to start with this. Right. Right. And I’ve had students that have gone from being unemployed and I haven’t jobs at all having confidence issues, to work in that fortune 20 companies around the globe and making 50 times what they’re making previously, right? I’ve had have students that have doubled their salaries now they’re not working 80 hours a week didn’t work 40 hours a week and have full time remote work, right? So I’ve had like life transformational situation for my clients. And you remember that right? Even when people don’t show up to meetings, people don’t always answer the calls, or people that sometimes don’t buy, I gotta remember that I am kicking ass and doing a good job, I just can’t keep up the good work and it’s tweaked my offer a little bit to get the desired results that you want.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 35:27
Everything you said there is so spot on with anything, right. And anytime you make a change to your business, whether that be adding a new product, whether it be increasing prices, there is that like doubt or owes, I don’t know, should I be doing this in a year or so right? People don’t understand the amount of expenses that go into running everything, even as a solopreneur. There’s software’s that you’re paying for. And there might be a VA that you’re paying for their workshops, you’re running this content you’re creating, that you’re not charging anything for. It’s just your time. So when you do take on the client, and you get them the results, you know, it will you get what you pay for sort of deal, right? So it’s, you know, they’re gonna get the result. And people don’t understand that it takes a lot to do all of this work, you know, and it’s always like, Well, why do I have to pay all this extra money, but I also feel this is something I think I’m learning throughout is the right people are willing to pay you right away. You know, it’s the people that are not your tribe are not ready for you. And they might be ready later. And you know, whatever their friend might be already, but people who are not ready for you. They’re the ones that are like, Nope, this doesn’t work for me. So it’s like you find the right people anyway, that’s kind of just kind of how I’ve been going about it. And I really liked how you said, it’s like, it’s about surrounding yourself with the right people. I agree. Like 100%, my life changed a lot. When I cut a lot of toxic people from my life. Even people who I just considered like, hang out, friends, acquaintances, I just cut them out. And just surrounded myself people, I really wanted to be around people who wanted to see me when people who weren’t just pretending that they they were happy when they I’m happy. Because I don’t want to people say you know who your true friends are when you’re going through shit. But I think you know, your true friends are when you are succeeding. Because you realize that everyone is happy for you, you know, they’re kind of jealous. And then you’re like, Oh, I thought this person was a good friend. But why are they getting jealous? Because I think it’s a lot easier to be there for someone, when you’re down into them say, hey, you know, I’m there for you. Don’t worry, you’re down in the dumps. It’s easy to be there. But it’s hard to be there for someone who’s doing way better than you. And you’re not, you know, it’s just kind of what I’ve noticed. And I realized that my friends that have been there for me, even as I succeeded, are my real friends versus the ones that didn’t? And would that the people that you surround yourself with you, you just mentioned that you hired a business coach. So talk to us a bit more about that, like, how do people who are at the beginning of their journey? How do they find the right coach? How did you find the right coach?
Kenneth Ellington 38:02
So I’m not once your supplier when I started my business division one. I just wanted to post because he lives in Dallas, like same as me. I was in DFW area. So he made a Fort Worth right. Just want to make sure that sorry about that. Texas. Yeah, um, so we connected, we had a call. Um, but this was like when I just started my business, right. So like her pricing structure, how much you were charging, which was it was fine, right? The amount itself was fine. But it didn’t make sense for me to spend 1000s of dollars and something when I literally didn’t have any client or any people at all. All right, so I wasn’t ready for it. So we constantly stayed in touch draw like the next I’d say eight months. And then fast forward towards like Christmas time. I got and this is going back towards I’m a very realistic person. I’m very honest with myself, I hate to lie to myself because it was leads to pain and suffering in the long run. So for one of our cohorts, we only got one student can raise the prices, right? I’m like, This is not acceptable. Like, I’m like, This is not acceptable. So I’ve been minute I happened I texted her my voicemail. I’m like, I’m ready. We’re ready to take my business towards the next level. And so I was literally this was during Christmas off back home. I was so excited to work with her. Um, I couldn’t wait. i The minute I got back off the plan, got home, I picked her. I’m like, 20 You’re free to me. Second sign up. She told me her price. I’m like, Cool. I’m like, I’m like sweating. I’m like sweating, sweating. micarta I’m like, I’m ready. You can ask for it as well. It’s like the same situation. So that was when I knew that I want to work with her. was when like there was like I wasn’t gonna get the results I knew I should be getting for the transformations that we’re bringing towards our clients. I’m a big component of paying people what they’re worth, right. So if someone tells me Hey, I have services to $20,000 but if you work with us, we can increase your sales by $20,000 per month, right? So for me, that’s that’s basically saying so basically within a month, I can get my money back, right? And then everything that make after that it’s just pure profit. So for me, that’s like, that’s the best investment I can ever make, like no stock, no real estate can ever get me that type of return on investment, I invest in myself. So I’m always a big component of like, invest in yourself, because for me, my biggest asset is my time, I can always make more money by having get my time back. So if there’s someone that can help me reach my goals in a quick and efficient manner, I’ll pay them whatever they’re worth for it. But that’s just how I’ve always seen things.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 40:35
I love it. And I think the important thing that I want to point out for everyone listening today, is that the reason you were writing to sign up with your business coach when you weren’t because she was an I’m assuming it’s a she like she knows she was in touch with you. Was it a she sorry? I just want to make sure Yeah, yeah. So she was in touch with you throughout. And she was and through that follow up, she was giving you value. Right, like, and you when you first met her, you weren’t ready, right. But because of that follow up because of that relationship. When you were ready, you thought of her. And you were ready to make that investment. I think that’s so important here to like when, like we talked about earlier, you know how a lot of times we have these console calls with people and not a lot of people sign up or you know, they’re just like, a lot of people say no, and it’s so important to remember that if you keep providing value through your content, or you know, through other means, the person will always keep you top of mind. And eventually when they are ready whenever that is they will come to you for whatever service that you can provide them. So I love that. I love that story. Thank you for sharing that. Because I think it’s such an important thing for everyone listening today to understand with anything that you’re doing or anything that you’re starting.
Kenneth Ellington 41:49
Yeah, it’s like a personal pet peeve of mine, because all I was like, especially like in cybersecurity in tech, because a lot of free resources is off like this already makes you pay for training or to not pay for training by industry or field. That doesn’t happen, right? Like I don’t walk to the restaurant and like, why should I charge money for his food? I can make a fool of myself. It’s a lie, right? He’s a cheater. They know what he does, as is weird. But like in cybersecurity and tech PSL people do, right. Like I can get these results by going to Udemy by attend our course. For me, it doesn’t make for me like it doesn’t make any sense. So let’s say like I was six, I was like 60 pounds overweight, right? I wasn’t my six year timeline. I was severely overweight. I was I had bad eating bad eating and unhealthy habits, right? If you told me kind of just go to Planet Fitness, 10 $10 membership, eat healthy, and you’d be fine. Right? Like, that’s not probably gonna work for me. Right? Yeah, there’s probably a lot of structural things in my life that need to be fixed before I can lose weight and have a healthy lifestyle. Right? And pretty get the results you probably have to pay someone a lot of money to make that happen. Right? Because everything change in your life, the same thing that we’re doing, right? I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t go towards Chef Ramsay and like, Hey, make me the $5,000. District free. All right, I wouldn’t do that. Right. It’s weird. So for me, I don’t understand that people have this mindset that everything should be free, right? Nothing in this world is free. The cost of front team may be free, but you’re paying for that either you or society or your country is paying for that on the back end to subsidize it. Nothing. This world is free. Everything costs money in some shape, form or fashion. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. But everyone wants everything for free. Everyone wants everything for now. Right? So that’s just how it is.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 43:28
Yeah. And it’s so true. It’s like, it goes back to you get what you pay for. Right. And especially if you are yourself starting an online business, if you want people to pay you for your service, but you’re not willing to invest in yourself and pay someone else to get better, then that’s in my head hypocrisy. You know, you want other people to pay you, but you don’t want to consider yourself like that’s very hypocritical. So that’s what I tell people to like, learn to invest in yourself and get better before you like you. Like a lot of people also go like, Oh, I want to I’m gonna get I’m gonna invest more in myself when I make more money when I do this. And I’m like, it’s never aligned like that. Always. Sometimes you have to take that risk and invest in yourself, like you said, in your own story. When you’re just like, alright, it’s about time, I want to get to the next level, and I want to invest in it. And I trust it, obviously do your research, make sure to coach you trust, that’s very, very important. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t have your best interests at heart. So but once you do invest in yourself, that is again, your upskilling your you will get the money back. And but you won’t get your time back. And in that time you’re learning something that might have taken you four times the time if you hadn’t hired the coach. So that’s that’s exactly what I always tell people when they come to me as well. I’m like, Just invest in yourself, find the right coach for you. And take yourself to the next level because the amount that you’re willing to invest in yourself. That’s kind of where you will be in life, whether that be through books, whether that be through courses, whether that be through getting Your one on one coach, whatever that is, do it in a way where you are investing, but also applying whatever you’re learning. So those those two things go hand in hand for me. All right? Well, I have honestly loved our conversation. So far I cannot we went into like so many things, we went into the cybersecurity aspects of it, like, you know, how creators online today on different social media platforms can be safer what they can do. We talked about specific software’s they can download, and I’ll have all the links in the show note. And then we also talking to your journey, like you know about how you are doing it, and managing it all and balancing it all for everyone. So I love that. And before we go into the final question today, could you tell everyone where they can find you online?
Kenneth Ellington 45:44
Yeah, so you can find me either on LinkedIn or Twitter, our business page, he told allanson Cyber Academy and that’s on our LinkedIn pages dwell or ECA for short to any questions at all. Feel free to DM me, or DM one of my structures, we’ll do our best to help you out.
Mahrukh Imtiaz 45:59
I love that. Awesome. All right candidate. So final question for today is what is one piece of advice that you would give candidate, the candidate that is graduating from university in 2020 COVID has not started there, the business yet has not landed high gig. What is one piece of advice that you would give him,
Kenneth Ellington 46:18
just always trust in yourself and your abilities? That’s what’s gonna get you for this. I’m that interesting if I’m interested in God,
Mahrukh Imtiaz 46:27
I love that. I love that always having that fate. That’s so so important.
Well, beautiful. If you have been listening to this, and if you’ve been inspired anything can it said feel free to share this episode with anyone you think that will benefit from hearing about all those security protocols, and also Kenneth’s journey, which is kind of really cool. So make sure you do that there’s so much gold. I’m so excited for this episode.
Until next time, you got this beautiful!
Well, beautiful it is my hope that this podcast inspired you to create your own podcast. Remember, you don’t have to quit your nine to five to do it. And if you found value in this podcast, you’re going to love my free training video on how you can get started today. DM me the word if Spicy Chai on LinkedIn and I’ll send it over to you.
Until then lots of love from your favorite, you got this beautiful