Are Twenty Somethings Getting A Bad Rap?

Three managers from three different generations, told us in three separate conversations, about their challenges with twenty somethings. Do young people today want the rewards without the effort?

Here are a few of our many thoughts on this question. First, to those who are a little past your twenties (or still holding on strong to 29 … again):

  • Be careful not to over-generalize.
  • When a lot of people think of baby boomers, they think of hippies. Gen Xers are slackers. Yet these attributes only apply to a small portion of the total population of each of these generations.

    The same is true of twenty somethings. Sure, some think they’re entitled to the best of everything. But many share the same work ethic, the same desire to prove themselves, as their predecessors.

  • Show them how they make a difference.
  • Employees of all generations consistently want two things from work, in addition to making a decent living. First, people want to be recognized for a job well done. Second, people want to feel like they’re part of something bigger.

    A young woman, with tears welling up in her eyes, told us about her first job, as a summer intern for the Chicago Housing Authority. Here’s her story:

    “On my first day of work, I walked into the office and was greeted by the receptionist. She immediately called my supervisor. My supervisor took me back to her office.

    She said, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. Our work is very important. We find homes for people. And I’m so happy that you’re here because we have more people wanting homes than we can handle. With your help, we’ll find homes for more people.’

    I couldn’t wait to get to work every day. Because I knew I was helping people.”

    Go the extra mile – show your people, of all ages, how your organization makes a difference. If you do, you’ll have a group of motivated employees.

Now, for those of you in your twenties:

  • Turn this negative into your positive.
  • This perception is out there … and it’s going to stick, at least for awhile. Use it to your advantage. If you go the extra mile, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Successful people do what unsuccessful people don’t.

    Little things make big differences. For example, get to work fifteen minutes earlier tomorrow. Stay fifteen minutes later. You’ll get noticed! Over time, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

  • Prepare yourself now for the opportunity to come.
  • Opportunity will present itself. The only question is whether or not you’ll be ready. If you can’t or won’t do little things extremely well, you’re won’t get the opportunity to work on big things.

    Napoleon Hill, in his great book, Think and Grow Rich, tells the story of Edwin Barnes. Barnes went to work for Thomas Edison, with the goal of becoming Edison’s partner. Edison invented a product that his sales people said wouldn’t sell. Barnes saw his opportunity – he took the project no one else wanted and became Edison’s partner in the process!

Our quote today is by the great quarterback, Roger Staubach.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”

Give all you’ve got and you’ll get more than you can imagine.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the communication debate – e-mail, phone, or face-to-face – what contact method should you use? Until then, here’s to your big success!

Regrets…Had A Few?

Last time, we talked about starting over to turn misfortune into fortune. Today, we want to discuss a study about regrets. The study was done by Dr. Neal Roese, professor of psychology, and Amy Summerville, graduate student researcher, at the University of Illinois.

In What We Regret … and Why, they assert that the biggest regrets that people have revolve around their education (cited by 32 percent of participants) and their career (selected by 22 percent of participants).

What about you? If you could do it again, would you get a different degree? Choose a different career? Study harder?

The good news is we have more choices today than ever before. The bad news is more choices mean more things to bemoan. The authors discuss two types of regret:

    • Action regrets.

These are regrets from things we did. If we lament something that’s relatively insignificant, we’re usually able to get past it with relative ease. If something was done that goes against our character, it’s tougher to get over it.

It’s not productive to beat yourself up. Apologize if need be. Learn from your mistakes. Resolve to do better next time. Then move on.

    • Inaction regrets.

According to the authors, these regrets are harder to overcome. They involve our imagination. We keep thinking about what might have been if only …

But that’s also a waste of our energy. Don’t think about what might have been. Focus on what might be. You can always make a U-turn on the Bigg Success Highway! Take action! Do something about it!

Mission accomplished! The longest college career in history ends happily.
Nola Ochs started college in 1930, but she didn’t finish. Life got in the way. She always wished she had been able to complete college.

Last May, she graduated from Fort Hays State University at the ripe young age of 95. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Nola is the oldest person to complete their college degree.

She’s a living testament that you’re never too old to achieve your dreams.

Regrets … we’ve all had a few. But the best way to get over them is to take action! That gets you focused on how to achieve, rather than thinking how you failed.

Our quote today was made by Alexander Graham Bell.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

Walk through your open doors and you may just find … room for improvement. Nola Ochs did it … so can you!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at why twenty somethings are getting a bad rap. Do they deserve it? Or is it just a generation gap? Until then, here’s to your big success!

Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

Last time, we talked about Todd, a young real estate entrepreneur, whose triumph turned to tragedy. Todd’s story comes from an article, in the New York Times, by John Leland, entitled A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust. We discussed some lessons you can learn from Todd’s misfortune.

Today, we want to go beyond the lessons and offer some advice on how to recover from a devastating turn of events.

Keep your dream alive.
Stay positive. Reach out to people close to you. People love helping people. Let them.

You should also be thankful for your misfortune. Yes, we do mean that. It means you’re one step closer to success! History is ripe with examples of people who failed before they succeeded bigg. Plan on your name being added to that list!

Here’s the first step to starting over:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not going to repeat the past, you have to learn from it. That’s how you fail forward. Learn from it and then forget about it – move on.

In Todd’s case, it’s obvious he is a dynamic young man. His banker said he performs. That’s a striking compliment coming from a banker who has foreclosed on him. It appears that Todd is good with Operations and Sales. Management, particularly financial management, is his weakness. This is common among entrepreneurs.

You want to build on your strengths and get around your weaknesses. For example, Todd may take in a partner with strong financial skills to complement his abilities.

What if you’ve declared bankruptcy (or are deep in debt)?
We’re not attorneys, or financial planners, or anything else worthy of giving you information for your specific situation. Keep that in mind.

A successful business person referred a friend, who had just declared bankruptcy, to a banker. The bank turned him down. The business person called the banker and explained that his friend was a better risk than he was.

“How can that be?” the banker asked. “You have stellar credit.”

The business person replied, “Because if you lend me the money, I can declare bankruptcy tomorrow. My friend can’t do that for seven years.”

We’re not sure if that’s still the case, but the point is to find ways of turning your liabilities into assets. Todd has changed from a merchant-model (i.e. he buys it, then sells it), to a broker-model. Now he makes money without having to invest any capital. Brilliant!

Our quote today comes from the great Dig Hammarskjöld.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.
Then you will see how low it was.”

Keep climbing. You’ll find that many of your mountains were really just mole hills.

Tune in next time to see what people regret the most, according to a recent study. Until then, here’s to your big success!

Lessons Learned From A Bankrupt Business Owner

Last time, we talked about jump starting your passive income by investing in rental real estate. Today we’ll look at what we can learn from a bankrupt business owner.

We came across an interesting article a little bit ago in the New York Times. It was about a young real estate speculator named Todd.

Back in 1994, after attending a seminar on buying real estate, 20-year old Todd found a property which he bought, fixed up, and sold for a $4,000 profit.

By the year 2000, Todd, now 26, was holding as many as 25 houses at a time. He had perfected his system – making up to $15,000 on every house. Eight banks were in line to provide him money when he needed it. Todd decided to start building new homes because prices had gone up so much on the houses he was buying.

Fast forwarding to May of 2006, Todd was living the American dream at 33. He had a 5,000 square foot house that cost $1.2 million. He had a BMW and a Corvette. An inventory of 89 lots was waiting for buyers. He owned an office building. Life was good!

Now, his marriage has collapsed. Banks have taken back his lovely house; he now rents a small one. His beautiful cars are gone. He’s driving a pick up truck. He’s lost everything else. He sells beverages full-time, and brokers deals to other speculators part-time.

We applaud Todd for sharing his story. And a big salute to John Leland for this excellent article – A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom to Bust.

So what can we learn from Todd’s experience? Here are some lessons:

Just because a bank will give you $$$, that doesn’t mean you should take it!
Todd had a banker who did him a favor, if he would have only recognized it. She told him “no”. So Todd went to another banker who kept the funds coming. If Todd had only paused to consider why his first banker said no, he may be in less of a mess now.

When you’re living on borrowed money, you may be living on borrowed time.
Todd was highly leveraged, in business and at home. Being levered in business may be fine. Piling on to that with personal debt is a bad idea. Borrowing money is a two-edged sword – it will make you rich, or poor, more quickly.

When it comes to your standard of living, keep your standards low.
Todd had the best of everything – the house, the cars, and more. Which is fine, if you have assets that will produce the income to pay for everything. But when you’re borrowing to buy status symbols, you’re bound to wind up in trouble.

Know how you’re getting out before you get in.
If Todd had done this, he might have noticed that it was getting more expensive for his customers to buy houses. He could have shifted his business model once – find a customer, then build it. That would mean he was “out” without getting “in”.

Fully analyze your situation by considering a number of situations.
Todd did this once – he shifted from flipping houses to building new ones. He didn’t contemplate how rising prices were affecting his customer’s ability to buy his product. He failed to consider how long it would take him to sell his inventory of lots. Had he done so, he may have prevented the major disaster that happened.

Todd learned the hard way – by making the mistakes himself. Hopefully, you can learn from his mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

Our quote today comes from Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares,
but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”

So shake off the nightmare and rest assured, your sweet dreams will come true.

Next time, we’ll offer some tips for starting over, for turning misfortune into fortune. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Get Real Estate

Last time, we talked about how to get started in your own business or franchise. Today we want to discuss how to jump start your passive income by investing in rental property.

You may ask why you should think about investing in real estate now. The daily news is ripe with horror stories of houses in foreclosure, people getting slammed by increases in their adjustable-rate mortgages, and others struggling to sell their houses in this down market.

Believe it or not, that’s why we think now is a great time to buy! Relative to historical norms, things are not as bad now as they were good a little while ago. We’re comparing now to one of the most lucrative markets for sellers in history! Take time to note the word “sellers” in the prior sentence.

There’s less competition for property today. It’s a buyer’s market.
That’s why we think you should buy now.

We’ll assume you’re convinced – where should you start?

Start by buying your own home.
In the past, financial planners often recommended renting and investing in other assets, such as stocks. Historically, stocks have outperformed real estate. The problem – the investing part was voluntary.

Buying a home is a commitment. It forces you to save. And if you’re like most of us, you need that “forced” part. So as you pay your mortgage, month after month, you’re reducing your outstanding debt. That’s why, on average …

… homeowners are significantly wealthier than renters.

So owning your own home is the foundation for creating wealth. Now you’re almost ready for the next big step. Remember our discussion of getting aggressively passive? You’ve found money from watching your spending and paying off debt. Keep piling that money up to prepare for your next move.

Buy your first investment property.
Your next real estate purchase may be your first rental property. Or it may be your next home. Consider moving up to a nicer place and renting out your first one.

Either way, be sure you have more money coming in than going out. Hook up with a good realtor who can help you determine what your rent should be. Now, estimate your bills – property taxes, insurance, mortgage payment, and all the others. If you don’t project having money left over, don’t buy that property – find another one!

Don’t start without a cash stash.
Owning real estate comes with its risks. For example, what if your property suddenly requires major repairs? As with any business, don’t invest in real estate unless you have a cash stash. If you don’t have one, find a partner who does. Otherwise, you may lose everything.

Our quote today comes from the Australian author, Noel Whittaker.

“Becoming wealthy is like playing Monopoly …
… the person who can accumulate the most assets wins the game.”

So roll the dice, take a chance, pass GO, and collect more than $200! It’s not just play money!

Next time, we’ll look at some of the things that can go wrong – lessons from a bankrupt business owner, who happened to be a real estate speculator. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!