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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

8 Slow, Difficult Steps To Become A Millionaire

Money of course isn't everything. Not by a long shot. Where your definition of success is concerned, money may rank far down the list. Everyone’s definition of “success” is different. Here's mine.
Success is making those that believed in you look brilliant.
For me, money doesn't matter all that much, but I'll confess, it did at one time (probably because I didn't have very much). So, let’s say money is on your list. And let’s say, like millions of other people, that you’d like to be a millionaire. What kinds of things should you do to increase your chances of joining the millionaire's club?

Here are the steps I'd suggest. They're neither fast nor easy. But, they're more likely to work than the quick and easy path.

1. Stop obsessing about money.

While it sounds counterintuitive, maintaining a laser-like focus on how much you make distracts you from doing the things that truly contribute to building and growing wealth. So shift your perspective.
See money not as the primary goal but as a by-product of doing the right things.
2. Start tracking how many people you help, even in a very small way.

The most successful people I know – both financially and in other ways – are shockingly helpful. They’re incredibly good at understanding other people and helping them achieve their goals. They know their success is ultimately based on the success of the people around them.

So they work hard to make other people successful: their employees, their customers, their vendors and suppliers… because they know, if they can do that, then their own success will surely follow.
And they will have built a business – or a career – they can be truly proud of.

3. Stop thinking about making a million dollars and start thinking about serving a million people. 

When you only have a few customers and your goal is to make a lot of money, you’re incented to find ways to wring every last dollar out of those customers. 

But when you find a way to serve a million people, many other benefits follow. The effect of word of mouth is greatly magnified. The feedback you receive is exponentially greater – and so are your opportunities to improve your products and services. You get to hire more employees and benefit from their experience, their skills, and their overall awesomeness. 

And, in time, your business becomes something you never dreamed of – because your customers and your employees have taken you to places you couldn’t even imagine. 

Serve a million people – and serve them incredibly well – and the money will follow.

4. See making money as a way to make more things.

Generally speaking there are two types of people. 

One makes things because they want to make money; the more things they make, the more money they make. What they make doesn’t really matter that much to them – they’ll make anything as long as it pays. 

The other wants to make money because it allows them to make more things. They want to improve their product. They want to extend their line. The want to create another book, another song, another movie. They love what they make and they see making money as a way to do even more of what they love. They dream of building a company that makes the best things possible … and making money is the way to fuel that dream and build that company they love.

While it is certainly possible to find that one product that everyone wants and grow rich by selling that product, most successful businesses evolve and grow and as they make money, reinvest that money in a relentless pursuit of excellence.
We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies. ~Walt Disney
5. Do one thing better.

Pick one thing you're already better at than most people.Just. One. Thing. Become maniacally focused at doing that one thing. Work. Train. Learn. Practice. Evaluate. Refine. Be ruthlessly self-critical, not in a masochistic way but to ensure you continue to work to improve every aspect of that one thing.

Financially successful people do at least one thing better than just about everyone around them. (Of course it helps if you pick something to be great at that the world also values – and will pay for.)
Excellence is its own reward, but excellence also commands higher pay – and greater respect, greater feelings of self-worth, greater fulfillment, a greater sense of achievement… all of which make you rich in non-monetary terms.


6. Make a list of the world’s ten best people at that one thing. 

How did you pick those ten? How did you determine who was the “best”? How did you measure their “success”? 

Use those criteria to track your own progress towards becoming the best. 

If you're an author it could be Amazon rankings. If you’re a musician it could be iTunes downloads. If you’re a programmer, it could be the number of people that use your software. If you’re a leader it could be the number of people you train and develop who move on to bigger and better things. If you’re an online retailer it could be purchases per visitor, or on-time shipping, or conversion rate…
Don’t just admire successful people. Take a close look at what makes them successful. Then use those criteria to help create your own measures of success. And then…

7. Consistently track your progress. 

We tend to become what we measure, so track your progress at least once a week against your key measures. 

Maybe you’ll measure how many people you’ve helped. Maybe you’ll measure how many customers you’ve served. Maybe you’ll evaluate the key steps on your journey to becoming the world’s best at one thing.

Maybe it’s a combination of those things, and more.

8. Build routines that ensure progress.

Never forget that achieving a goal is based on creating routines. Say you want to write a 200-page book; that’s your goal. Your system to achieve that goal could be to write 4 pages a day; that’s your routine. Wishing and hoping won’t get you to a finished manuscript, but sticking faithfully to your routine ensures you reach your goal.

Or say you want to land 100 new customers through inbound marketing. That’s your goal; your routine is to create new content, new videos, new podcasts, new white papers, etc. on whatever schedule you set. Stick to that routine and meet your deadlines and if your content is great you will land those new customers. 

Wishing and hoping won’t get you there – sticking faithfully to your routine will.

Set goals, create routines that support those goals, and then ruthlessly track your progress. Fix what doesn’t work. Improve and repeat what does work. Refine and revise and adapt and work hard every day to be better than you were yesterday.

Soon you’ll be good. Then you’ll be great. And one day you’ll be world-class.

And then, probably without even noticing, you’ll also be a millionaire. You know, if you like that sort of thing.

Monday, 28 July 2014

What if you fail?

Share with me your fears.

Why Every Yuppie Should Have A Side Hustle In Addition To A 9-To-5 Job


 The idea of a side hustle is growing in popularity. It is estimated that 35 percent of Millennials in the United States are currently involved in a side business to earn a little extra money during their extra hours. However, many have not joined in on this trend due to a lack of confidence or fear of being seen as “distracted” or “unfocused.”

The idea of a side hustle is a simple one: It is “a tiny, independent venture you do during your free time when you’re not at your full-time job.” Side hustles come in many shapes and sizes. They could be anything: business venture, startup, app, part-time job or even tinkering with a blog.

Side hustles are a form of career insurance that provide supplemental income or serve as a useful fallback in case of a layoff. But, a side hustle can also serve as a career accelerator that allows a person to build skills, form important relationships and develop new business ideas. Here are the six main benefits from having a side hustle:

1. You become a time-management champion.

 With a full-time job and side hustle, you will begin to look at 24 hours strategically. You spend your time much more wisely and always carefully weigh whether or not something is or isn’t worth your time.

 2. You make many connections.

 Being a blogger has enabled me to network with people who own businesses in different industries, like prominent civil society activists, people in PR and other bloggers, too. It has been a truly remarkable, inspiring, humbling experience. If all you do is hang out at one job or in school, the number of people you know and experiences you have become very limited. So, step out of your comfort zone to access these wonderful opportunities that may change your life.

 3. You are only in your 20s once.

 As 20-somethings, many of us are single and without kids. With a flexible schedule and few commitments, it is the perfect decade to experiment with projects and find things we enjoy and are also good at doing. If your side hustle fails, move on and try another. The loss is small because even when you do lose, you win in terms of new skills and lessons. In a sense, this is an upgrade.

 4. Money!

 A side hustle can diversify your income stream. From it, you can save expenses, gain extra income, or with a bit of luck and lots of hard work, turn it into a ful- time career. Even if it doesn’t turn into a full-time career, an extra hundred dollars each month can go a long way. For some countries, like Singapore, homes can be really expensive and thus, having a side income helps a lot.

 5. Your side hustle will make you better at your real job.

 Contrary to what people assume, rather than compete for your attention at your full-time job, side hustles actually make you a better employee. You often own the means of production and reap the full reward of your side hustle. If you succeed, the money is all yours. This can be a huge motivating factor that will push you to do better in all modes of your work because you will feel less beaten down by day job monotony. Side hustles will invigorate your work ethic.

 Also, dabbling in the things you love can lift your mood, making you happier and more productive. According to Sandy Thompson of Y&R Advertising agency, “Multiple interests are how you create a happy life. Employers see how [multi-careerism] makes their employees more productive and happier. And happy employers in the long run benefit”

 Furthermore, the skills you pick up are transferable. In fact, all skills are transferable. If your side hustle requires you to serve demanding clients in a high stress environment without losing your temper, being able to do so will serve you well as an employee, and in every other aspect of life. I have learned a lot from being exposed to the real world while pursuing a challenging full-time undergraduate degree.

 You can also parlay your network contacts from your side hustle to benefit you at a current day job. One hand feeds the other and no time is wasted — even if your side hustle doesn’t pay well. 6. You will keep your mind active. When you spend time on a side hustle, your mind is so much more active. Very often, a full-time job (even one that requires 50 or 60 hours of work per week) doesn’t teach us everything. We’re more concerned about the company’s mission and bottom line than our own personal growth. A side hustle makes you more inquisitive and more capable.

The more you train your mind, the sharper it becomes. While you are getting started on your side hustle, remember these wise tips from Susan Gramm: Determine if your side hustle violates your employment contract or policies. If you need to gain approval or believe that what you’re doing will eventually become public, articulate the benefits to your employer or consider if it’s possible to eliminate the conflict of interest by providing services at no cost, at least in the early stages.

 Treat your side hustle like a business from the start with an eye toward eventually monetizing your services. You don’t want to be a few years down the road wishing that you had invested in branding and an Internet presence, for example. Prepare to run a “marathon and not a sprint” by investing two to three years working on both your day job and your side hustle. Working two jobs means long hours and a lot of sacrifices. One idea, says former attorney Laurie Gay, is to switch “to a less demanding job” as “a more regular schedule [will permit you] to do more to get the ball rolling” sooner.

4 Investment Tips For Millennials Who Want To Be Stock Market Savvy

In considering the wealthiest people who ever lived, you’re likely to find several common traits among them. One of those traits is that many created their wealth from owning and investing in companies.
In fact, I don’t know of one wealthy person who created his or her wealth from simply saving a monthly paycheck. It is simply not possible to create wealth solely from saving, especially when inflation is on the rise.
Despite being very rewarding, the world of investing seems complicated and challenging. As a result, too many Millennials tend to shy away from the place where the wealthy get wealthier.
Here are four tips for Millennials to to use and invest successfully:

1. Never Let Your Emotions Influence Your Decisions

The most successful investor of all time, Warren Buffet, says that successfully investing over a lifetime does not require stratospheric IQ, unusual business insight or inside information.
It only requires a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework.
My framework states that in order to diversify my risk, I should not put more than 25 percent of my net worth in any one sector. This mentality does not only apply to investing, but also to life.
When you make decisions based on your ever-changing emotions, you may end up doing something stupid. When you make decisions based on principles and standards, your decision-making process will no longer be arbitrary.

2. Invest In Yield-Producing Assets

The 2008 stock market crash wiped out several people, many of whom did not see any return on their investments. This is because they chose to invest in assets that only appreciated and had no yield.
When I invest, I don’t care about what is fashionable; I invest based on my framework.
Investing in yield-producing securities (securities that produce some form of regular income, such as dividends and interest) compensates the investor, while his or her capital appreciates.
Millennials can generate another stream of income if they invest in dividend-paying stocks and high-interest bonds.
What I love most about investing in dividend-paying stocks is that the managers of the company must constantly ask themselves where they are supposed to generate income to distribute to the shareholders.
This keeps them diligent and focused on increasing the company’s revenue.

3. Prudently Use External Capital

Another common practice among the wealthy is the use of other people’s money to create wealth. When Warren Buffet started his career, he created investment partnerships and had people put money into a fund that he managed.
He would then charge investors 20 percent of the profits he created for them. This is an example of how he used other people’s money to create an income stream for himself.
Jamaican billionaire Michael Lee-Chin is another example of how using external capital can create wealth. He borrowed $500,000 to invest in a financial services company that he thought would grow.
Seven years after that, $500,000 appreciated to $3,500,000.

4. When Investing, Think Long Term

Investing is all about taking calculated risks, not wild gambles. People who buy stock in a company they have not researched thoroughly do not invest, they speculate. The hallmark of investing is understanding what you own.
You will be much better off in the long run when you invest in a company because you think it is an excellent business that will steadily grow in the long run and while it grows, will pay a reasonable dividend.
Don’t invest in a company because you think the price of the stock will increase in a few minutes, weeks or months

What to do if you haven’t saved a dime for retirement

By Jonathan Clements

Here’s a grim statistic: Half of workers age 55 and older have less than $50,000 in savings, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey. 

Some of these folks have traditional defined-benefit pensions, so they’re in better shape than it seems. But most don’t. That means their retirement will be built on modest savings, Social Security and maybe some home equity. 

Does that describe someone you know — or perhaps your own financial situation? If so, how can you retire in at least moderate comfort? My advice: Try mightily to keep pulling in a paycheck until at least age 70, at which point you would claim delayed Social Security retirement benefits. 

Toughing it out in the workforce won’t be easy. Many people are forced to retire earlier than they had hoped to. According to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey, workers typically say they expect to retire at age 65 — but it turns out the median retirement age is actually 62. 

Anything that pays
What happens if you get forced out of your job earlier than you’d like? Try to find a job that will cover the bills, so you can put off claiming Social Security. That might mean taking work for which you’re overqualified and that pays less than the job you were forced out of. But collecting some sort of paycheck, so you can delay Social Security, could be the key to a modest retirement. 

Most retirees, of course, don’t delay Social Security. In fact, in 2012, 45% of men and 51% of women claiming Social Security retirement benefits were age 62, the youngest possible age. (These figures ignore those on Social Security disability benefits who were then swapped over to receive retirement benefits.) Claiming at 62 might be the right decision if you and, if married, your spouse are both in poor health. 

But for most folks, it’s likely a mistake, because taking benefits early means accepting a permanently shrunken monthly check. Let’s say your full Social Security retirement age is 66, at which point you could get $1,400 a month, equal to $16,800 a year. This is roughly the average amount that Social Security recipients are entitled to. 

If you claim at 62, you would take a 25% hit, leaving you with $1,050 a month, or $12,600 a year. By contrast, if you delayed benefits from 66 to 70, you would get 32% more. That would mean $1,848 a month, equal to $22,176 a year. This doesn’t reflect any increases because of inflation. 

A good deal
True, $22,176 at age 70 won’t pay for a lavish retirement. But unless you have a lot of other income, you shouldn’t have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefit. Indeed, Social Security is perhaps the best income stream available to retirees. It’s indexed to inflation, backed by the federal government, at least partially tax-free, and you know you’ll get it for as long as you live. Moreover, your spouse may receive your benefit as a survivor benefit, assuming you die first. 

Does waiting until 70 seem too long? If you are married and you were the main breadwinner, you might “file and suspend” once you reach your full Social Security retirement age of 66 or 67. That will allow your husband or wife to claim spousal benefits, so you have some extra money coming in, while you continue to delay your benefit until age 70. 

That spousal benefit can be worth as much as half your benefit as of your full retirement age. For instance, if your full retirement age benefit is $1,400 a month, your spouse could receive $700.
Even as you postpone Social Security, try to save what you can. Also look to slash your cost of living. That might mean trading down to a less-expensive home and making a big push to get all debts paid off before you retire. 

Don’t like the idea of postponing retirement until age 70? Keep in mind that, even at 70, median life expectancy is 15 years for men and 17 years for women, and you could live longer than average. 

A sense of purpose 
Moreover, continuing to work late in life isn’t all bad. We all need a sense of purpose to our lives — which is why many retirees volunteer, take up hobbies, help at local schools and take college courses.
Admittedly, these are things retirees choose to do, while your financial situation is forcing you to work. Still, working until age 70 could give you the social, intellectual and physical stimulation that we all need.

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