Freedom Or Security – Which Do You Choose?

Let’s start with some definitions of what we’re talking about when we say freedom and security.

When we talk about security here, we’re talking about things like your personal financial security or job security. Freedom means financial freedom and career freedom.

Many experts say that it’s a trade-off – you have to choose one or the other. We want to examine that today.

So here are a few questions –
Given the definitions above, when we say “security”, what do you think?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking things like “a regular paycheck”, “an annual salary increase”, and “no fear of losing my job.”

What do you think when we say “freedom?”
You might say “creative control”, “no money worries”, “set my own schedule”, and “be my own boss.”

Which one is more fun to think about?
Freedom, of course! In fact, most people tend to smile when thinking about freedom. Thinking about security doesn’t yield the same emotions.

If that’s the case, why do we spend so much time worrying about security and so little time planning for freedom?
That’s a good question, isn’t it? Of course, you might say it’s because you have bills to pay and a family to take care of.

What if you could have both freedom and security?
Isn’t that ideal? Before we offer some suggestions on how to make that happen, we want you to think about how secure that job truly is.

Think about two scenarios –
Scenario 1: You’re an employee with an employer.
Think of your employer as your customer. Think of the services you provide to your employer as your business. Now, look carefully at that … isn’t that what a job really is?

How many customers do you have?               One.
What happens if you lose that customer?      You lose all your income.
How secure is that?                                            It’s not.

Scenario 2: You’re self-employed.
Now picture yourself in your own business with five customers. To keep it simple, assume that each of these customers gives you exactly the same amount of business.

What happens if you lose one?                        You only lose 20% of your income.

So which one is more secure?

Ah, but you protest – with your job comes unemployment insurance and/or a contract with severance pay!

That’s true. However it doesn’t change how you will feel when you realize that your job is being eliminated or you’re being let go for any number of reasons. Wouldn’t you rather live a life free from that concern? To do that, you need more than one source of income … you need multiple “customers.”

2 ways to get started having both freedom and security:

#1: Start a business part-time.
Your part-time business may be related to what you already do, or it may not. If it’s related, make sure you’re not violating any company policies.

How do you get started in business? Get a customer! Now, you’ve diversified your income. Then get another … now you’re even better off!

Hopefully, the income from your part-time business grows to exceed your full-time salary. Now you’re free and secure!

#2: Invest aggressively.
You don’t have to start your own business to have the freedom we’re talking about. Start setting aside money each month into your “freedom fund.” Invest it wisely and over time, you’ll see your passive income start to grow.

When your passive income equals your salary from your full-time job, you’re free and secure. If this strategy interests you, check out Getting Aggressively Passive.

Considering a career change?
Subscribe to the FREE Bigg Success Weekly newsletter to help you plan it and inspire you to go for it. Sign up now and get the Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook. It’s FREE, too!

Our Bigg Quote today is by Alan Cohen, the great author.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Don’t let a false sense of security hold you back. Ultimately, true security comes from the freedom you find when you pursue your dreams with passion.

Next time, we’ll answer a question from one of our listeners. She’s doing most of the work, but getting little of the credit. We’ll discuss how to get the credit you deserve.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part II)

Yesterday, we began this discussion of SWOT analysis. Today we want to continue it by talking about the last half of SWOT: Opportunities and Threats.

So far, everything we’ve discussed has been internal – focused just on you. Your strengths. Your weaknesses. Now we’re ready to bring in the external forces.

Take a tip from entrepreneurs when you’re trying to find your opportunity. Entrepreneurs know:

Where there’s change, there’s likely to be growth.
And where there’s growth, there’s opportunity.

So look for change to find your opportunity. For instance, the baby boom has been changing markets in the United States for years. Now they’re starting to retire. This is creating huge opportunities in health care, travel, and home services, among others.

In fact, many of the hottest careers in the coming years are centered on the needs of the baby boomers as they retire. Many new businesses will succeed bigg by serving them as well.

This is just one example of changes that occur that create opportunities. But opportunities are only half the picture. You also need to consider the threats.

Ask yourself, “What could happen that would significantly affect you if you choose this career?” Because here’s a little tip about change:

Change creates opportunities in new fields while destroying existing ones.

Let’s look at a famous example from early last century. If your chosen career involved nearly anything to do with carriages, you were in trouble with the advent of the automobile. Technological change is probably the main driver of changes like this. However, changes in industries also occur due to things like consolidation, outsourcing, and more.

Mary-Lynn shared her career experience. She loves radio, but with the internet and consolidation in the industry, it’s harder to find good opportunities than it used to be. Change is creating destruction.

At the same time, the internet and new media are presenting opportunities for people with skills like hers – opportunities to build your own content and brand. Change is creating growth.

Mary-Lynn found her path to peace of mind. She started with finding her passion. Then, with her core values in mind, she did a SWOT analysis, which prompted her to change careers, while still using all of her talents and experience.

Putting it all together
When you’re done with your SWOT analysis, you should have a number of possible fits. Don’t make the mistake of only looking at compensation. That’s part of the picture, but certainly not the only thing.

We have a friend who accepted a job because it paid so much. She told us that she knew it didn’t fit her passion; it was in an industry that she wasn’t particularly excited about. But it was so much money! Soon, she found she hated her job. She was unhappy all the time – even at home. Money isn’t everything!

You know where you are now. You’ve visualized your dream life so you know where you want to be. All you have to do is choose the best path to get there!

The Bigg Goal-Setters Workbook will help you do just that!
It’s free when you sign up for our free weekly newsletter!

Our Bigg Quote today comes from Douglas Everett.

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some
who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

The world needs more dreamers, but even more … the world needs more doers that make their dreams come true.

Next time, we’ll discuss freedom and security. Experts say that you can’t have both; you have to choose one or the other. We’ll ask the question … why can’t you have both?

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Related Links:

Your Personal SWOT Analysis (Part I)

Visualize The Life You Want

Live Your Dream With Purpose

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!